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Strong cohort of Eastern hopefuls completes STEP/CAP program

Published on August 05, 2021

Strong cohort of Eastern hopefuls completes STEP/CAP program


More than 50 students from 24 towns and cities across the state of Connecticut recently wrapped up six weeks on the Eastern Connecticut State University campus as participants in Eastern’s Summer Transition at Eastern Program/Contract Admissions Program (STEP/CAP).

In its 37th year, STEP/CAP is an alternate, summer bridge admissions opportunity that provides access and first-year support to high school graduates who are either the first to attend college, are from low-income families or are from groups traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.  The program’s goal is to make higher education available to deserving students to ease the transition from high school to college and to promote the academic and social attitudes needed for students to become successful.

STEP CAPAdmissions counselor Sierra Colon served as a peer advisor for STEP/CAP during her senior year at Eastern and taught study skills to the students. “I provided them the fundamentals needed to be a successful college student, insight I wish I had as an incoming freshman. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish!”

The program teaches students writing, time management, test preparation, and public speaking skills in a friendly, fun-filled setting. While living in Eastern’s residence halls and taking two college level courses, participants must earn a minimum overall 2.5 GPA, which qualifies them to continue as first-year students at Eastern in the fall semester. Members of this year’s class have expressed specific interest in majors ranging from accounting to theatre.

DeRon Williams, assistant professor of theatre, who has taught “Diversity, Society and Popular Culture” for the past three years in the program, said teaching in the program has invigorated him for the fall. “I’m very excited that I get to continue working with and aiding these students throughout the fall. We want to make sure that the students stay enrolled and have the support necessary to do so.”

During the program’s six weeks, students worked closely with a full complement of faculty, professional support staff and peer mentors in classroom, residential and tutorial settings. Faculty and staff  provided academic support, advising on course selection, curriculum requirements, campus resources and other matters pertaining to the undergraduate experience.


Kristen Morgan, associate professor of theatre and new media studies, is confident in the long-term success for STEP/CAP students. “We have a fantastic group of engaged students who are going to be great members of our Eastern community in the fall. During the past six weeks, we delved into the ethical issues surrounding emerging technologies, including biases in coding, diverse representation in technology, risk assessment tools used for prison sentencing and social media hacking. The discussions have been lively!”

“Working with the STEP/CAP students has taught me so much about resiliency and hard work, said teaching assistant Megan Ryan. “They have dedicated themselves to the program and have actively worked to improve their grades and work even harder in the course. Every day in class, the students greet us with a happy and ready-to-work attitude despite the long hours of course work.”

Norine Andrade is a peer advisor who says her STEP/CAP experiences have been amazing. “I’ve met some fantastic people and I believe our students are doing well in this program. I’m grateful for the opportunities and connections I’ve made with great people, and the ability to help others and learn from others. Being a peer advisor will help me succeed throughout my school years and other jobs.”


Peer advisor Kevin Ruiz said this year’s class of students has been one of the hardest working and social groups he has ever seen on campus. “They are not only giving the STEP/CAP program a good reputation but are also giving Eastern a reputation that people would be proud to be a part of. What has impressed me the most about this group is that they realized that they are all in the same boat. No one wanted to see anyone else fail, so they did whatever it takes for other people to pass classes by doing such things as helping each other in homework, having study sessions and even reminded others about upcoming assignments. A couple of weeks ago, no one knew each other. They have come a long way since the program began.”

In the past, STEP/CAP students have won campus-wide oratorical contests and gone on to work in corporate America, government, non-profit organizations and more. The program ended on Aug. 6 with a social gathering, but the contract extends beyond the program itself, lasting all four years of the student’s Eastern career.

Written by Dwight Bachman