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19 African students learn college ropes this summer

July 31, 2015
large group of students pose for a photoStudents from this summer’s African Leadership Academy program on the University’s River Campus pose for a photo Thursday night along with staff members and previous ALA scholars. (Credit: African Leadership Academy)

The African Leadership Academy’s goal is to develop future world leaders who will prevent wars, create jobs and improve healthcare.

The road to that success goes through the University of Rochester again this summer.

Nineteen high school students from the continent of Africa are staying on the University’s River Campus through Aug. 7 as part of a pre-orientation program designed to prepare them for college this fall. Three will continue their education at the University of Rochester this fall.

They are high-achieving students from extremely low incomes and are part of “Early Connections Africa,” which is in its second year at the University of Rochester. It’s an offshoot of the University’s Early Connections Opportunity (ECO) program, which teaches select incoming freshmen about the attitudes, skills and social connections that characterize successful University of Rochester students.

Students in this summer’s program flew from Africa to New York City on July 11, then bused to Rochester to begin a four-week program that includes various college courses, plus social interactions such as a visit to Darien Lake, a campus scavenger hunt and a visit to College Town.

Courses are taught by University professors and range from writing and psychology to engineering and transformative leadership. The students are all housed in the Susan B. Anthony Residence Hall.

Students have come from more than 20 different nations in Africa in the ALA program’s history.

“Most students don’t get any pre-university orientation before arriving on campus,” said program director Laura Kaub. “How you conform to visa laws, how you find your adviser, and what it’s like to sit in a small classroom. Without this program, it’s a culture shock when they arrive on campus. We are very grateful to the University of Rochester.”

The students are selected by an African Leadership Academy committee which identifies them as potential future leaders and tries to match them with universities.

Since 2012, 34 ALA alumni have chosen the University of Rochester, and ALA alumni have attended 91 universities in 22 nations.

To set up interviews with students or program leaders, please contact Laura Kaub at (646) 203-6550 or

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