HMTCA Students Learn Writing Skills and Science Research in Summer Workshops

This Year, Trinity Undergraduates Co-Teach Science Through New Internship Opportunity


Elise Lasky ’17 and Constance Ky ’17 (front left) with rising 10th grade students from HMTCA participating in the summer science workshop. View more
photos here.
Hartford, CT, August 12, 2015 – More than 200 rising 9th- and 10th-grade students from Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy (HMTCA) spent part of their summer on Trinity’s campus taking workshops focused on writing and study skills and science research. As part of the educational partnership forged in 2011 between Trinity and Hartford’s Public Schools, the summer programs are required for HMTCA students to maintain a spot in the award-winning magnet school.

The summer writing and study skills workshops for rising 9th graders is coordinated in conjunction with Trinity’s Allan K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric. Tennyson O’Donnell, director of the center, said the objective of the program is to prepare the students for a rigorous high school education and to help put them on a path toward college. In addition to participating in sessions that emphasize the relationship between reading and writing, and the importance of revising one’s writing, students visit such venues as the Raether Library and Information Technology Center, Cinestudio, and the Ferris Athletic Center. Trinity Admissions staff members visit with the rising 9th graders to share a preview of the college search and application process, and current Trinity students come in to talk with them about their own college experiences.

“All of the curricula of the summer writing workshops reflect what we offer our incoming first-year students at Trinity,” said O’Donnell. “So, it’s a great opportunity for the HMTCA students, as they begin their high school careers, to begin laying the groundwork for their college-preparedness.”

In addition to O’Donnell, Trinity faculty members who teach the writing courses are Dan Mrozowski, Irene Papoulis, and Robert Peltier. They are provided classroom support by HMTCA teachers Robert Burbank, Mel Cavanaugh (a graduate of Trinity’s IDP program), and Kate Kiniry.

The science program for rising 10th graders, made possible through a grant from the Connecticut Health and Educational Facilities Authority (CHEFA), aims to expose students to areas of science that students may not see in their school curriculum, such as forensics and anatomy/physiology. Additionally, over the two-week workshop, students complete and present a research project. This year, students assessed the health of the Trout Brook in two different locations using chemical tests, field observations, and an analysis of macroinvertebrate populations.

Thanks to the CHEFA grant, this summer the science workshops served also as a teaching internship experience for eight Trinity undergraduates. The Trinity students shadowed HMTCA teachers and observed their work with students to get ideas for teaching the summer workshops. The Trinity students also completed training with Alison J. Draper, director of Trinity's Science Center and lecturer in interdisciplinary science. (See photos from a field research training session here.)

For one Trinity intern, Constance Ky ’17, there was a bit of déjà vu involved in working with the HMTCA students to get them excited about science and to help them understand how scientific research is conducted. Ky, who is pursuing a major in neuroscience, grew up in Hartford and attended Hartford Magnet Middle School from 6th through 8th grade (before the school expanded to include 9th through 12th grades). She also served as a teaching assistant last summer with the HMTCA science workshops.

"As an aspiring teacher, it was a rewarding experience to work with the students,” said Ky. “It was especially gratifying to see some students who started out unsure of having an interest in science not only become engaged, but also thrive in the workshops.”

In addition to Draper, teachers involved in the summer science program are Trinity’s Denise Rau, senior lecturer and laboratory coordinator in Chemistry, and HMTCA teachers Jared Lewis, Angela Kumm, and Zuleyka Shaw, who is a 2005 Trinity alumna. (Read a related story on Shaw here.)