Bridge Program receives national award from College Board

Curt Coonrod, (center), vice provost for student affairs, recently brought home the Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Models of Excellence Recognition for the UMSL Bridge Program for their commitment and efforts to positively impact African American students. Coonrod presented the award to the Bridge team (from left): Kimberly Edwards, coordinator; Channon Peoples, assistant director; Natissia Small, director; Lester McQuaid, coordinator; and Lisa Sturgeon, office support staff. (Photo by August Jennewein)

After years of presenting hundreds of awards to students and their organizations, Curt Coonrod got to accept one for his team.

The University of Missouri–St. Louis Bridge Program was recognized by the College Board for its commitment and efforts to positively impact the African American community. Coonrod, UMSL’s vice provost for student affairs, accepted the Dr. Asa G. Hilliard Model of Excellence award on April 27 at the College Board’s 2012 A Dream Deferred: The Future of African American Education conference in Los Angeles.

“I am extremely proud of the tremendous work the Bridge Program has done for more than 26 years preparing young students for postsecondary educational opportunities,” Coonrod said. “Receiving the Dr. Asa G. Hilliard award is an incredible honor and recognizes the significant impact the Bridge Program has had and continues to have on the lives of young people in the St. Louis metropolitan region.”

Millions of students each year use College Board programs and services to transition into college. They include the widely used SAT and PSAT tests and the Advanced Placement Program.

The Bridge Program also was recognized for encouraging the African American community to strive for academic success. As the growing rate of students unprepared for college steadily increases, Bridge offers effective programming to address and equip area students with competencies critical for the transition to college. Bridge maintains an unmatched 100 percent college matriculation rate. On average, 41 percent of Bridge participants have sought majors in math, science, engineering and technological fields.

“We are honored to receive recognition by the College Board for our commitment to serve students and parents in the St. Louis community,” said Natissia Small, assistant dean of students and director of the Bridge program. “It is our charge to continue to offer services necessary for addressing barriers that impede college access.

In its 26th year, the precollegiate program provides a Saturday Academy consisting of intensive academic programs for students in grades 9 through 12; a four week Summer Academy for students in grades 9 and 10; Saturday Parent Academy and Support Group providing workshops to promote parental engagement and success of their college-bound students. It also offers after-school clubs in selected schools throughout the region dedicated to research and competitions in math and science.


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