“You just have to wake up and be responsible,” Mercedes McNeal, 17, said of the Saturday morning commute from Philadelphia to Eastern’s St. Davids campus as part of the Cross Boundaries program.
McNeal is one of eleven high school juniors and seniors who are part of the applied chemistry class that will be traveling to Eastern on six Saturdays for laboratory experience. The class is instructed by Dr. Amanda Reig, who said that the class meets once a week in the evening at the Eastern in the City campus.
Dr. Reig is a researcher at the University of Pennsylvania who taught some general chemistry lab courses at Eastern last semester.
“[Eastern in the City] asked if I would be interested in teaching,” Reig said. “I live in the city, so it’s easy for me to get to the downtown classes.”
The high school students each needed a B average in their classes to apply for the Cross Boundaries program.
The application required an essay describing accomplishments in one’s life, said student Kevin Kaiser, who plans on applying to Penn State University.
According to Yvonne Turner, university director who administers the program, Cross Boundaries is an Eastern University program that was developed in 2003. This semester there are 136 students who are participating in the Cross Boundaries courses, Turner said in a phone interview. There are a select group of courses offered each semester and students must apply to a specific course, Turner said.
According to Dr. Reig, the class is the equivalent of a college course, earning the students some credit, free of cost, prior to attending college.
“It’s a good experience coming here,” McNeal said. “Especially because we’re in high school and we can see what college is like.” McNeal is planning on attending Johns Hopkins University to become a neurosurgeon.
The chemistry lab takes place in Andrews Hall. Dr. Reig explained that the lab course these students are taking is equivalent to the applied chemistry lab course taken by Eastern students. Dr. Reig described the course as introductory, saying that they are focusing on environmental issues such as pollution and global warming.
Student Emma Laguerre, 17, explained that the class involves “lots of notes.”
“If you daydream for a second, you’re gone,” Laguerre said. “We’re in another chapter!” Laguerre has applied to Rosemont College, University of Maryland and Eastern University.
Dr. Reig believes the program is beneficial. “It’s good because it gives students the chance to be in a real college environment,” Reig said.