Claudia Michaels spent part of her summer at Emory University in Atlanta.
Why did you choose to participate in a summer program?
I decided to participate in a summer program the summer before my junior year of high school. I was just starting to really think about college and thought it would be helpful to get a feel for what college is like. I wanted to try out living in a dorm, eating at a dining hall, and going to a college class. I was also interested in global health and wanted to explore that field of study since it is not something covered in a typical high school curriculum.
What were you looking for in a program? How did you decide which one was right for you?
Emory University Pre-College was actually the only one I looked into. Emory was one of the first schools on my radar for college, and I stumbled upon the website for their summer program when researching Emory. I chose the two-week long program for global health and thought it seemed perfect for getting to know Emory as a school and for investigating a field in which I had interest. I also liked that Emory’s pre-college program had a session dedicated to helping students plan for college applications. When I looked at images and promotional videos for the program, I felt that I would get along with the other students at Emory and that it was a perfect place for me.
What was a typical day like for you during your summer program?
Every morning I grabbed a quick breakfast with my friends before heading off to class. In class our professor brought different guest lecturers to teach us about about a variety of global health issues ranging from malaria and ebola to refugee and women’s rights, mental health, and comparative healthcare systems. After class, I met up with more of my friends and we grabbed lunch before going to the College 101 session to get some tips from admissions officers about how to make our college applications stand out. Evenings were filled with adventures around Emory’s campus and Atlanta. Some days we visited places like Piedmont Park, Six Flags and the Georgia Aquarium, and other days we set up a picnic blanket and hung out in the quad at Emory.
Which course did you choose and why?
I chose the Global Health Leadership two-week long course. I was thinking about studying public health in college and wanted to try out the field. Prior to the course, I had very little exposure to public health aside from some newspaper articles and books I had read about infectious diseases and epidemics. I ended up loving the course and now I am taking classes in global health at Emory and thinking of declaring a public health major in the next year.
What was the most memorable moment of your summer at Emory?
My most memorable moment during Pre-College was when my class took a field trip to Clarkston, Georgia. Clarkston is a small city near Atlanta where multiple refugee resettlement programs have set up to help refugees and immigrants coming to the United States to start a new life. I learned about refugee health and got to see so much diversity in Clarkston. Now as an Emory student, I am involved in club called Project SHINE (Students Helping in Naturalization and English), and I go to Clarkston once a week to tutor refugees.
What advice do you have for teens looking at summer programs?
Do not be afraid to attend a summer program! I remember being nervous to leave home and live on my own without knowing anyone else doing the program. Once I set foot on Emory’s campus though, I immediately felt at home and made friends instantly. My two weeks of pre-college flew by, but I still keep in contact with many of the students I met. Some of them even go to Emory with me now and we are still friends!