UNH Manchester Summer Program Combines English Learning with STEM Skills


Friday, July 12, 2019

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students on rocky beach conducting investigation

Students in the EXCELL-in-STEM program collect and identify macroinvertebrates to determine the health of a stream.

The UNH EXCELL-in-STEM program began its 16th year on Monday, July 8. The program has helped more than 250 Manchester area middle and high school English learners build their skills in English as well as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by offering hands-on activities through the UNH STEM Discovery Lab on the Manchester campus. The program is made possible thanks to support from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation.

Students in the EXCELL program solve computing and engineering challenges, participate in STEM-focused field trips and conduct science experiments. Emphasizing inquiry, observation, data analysis and coding, the goal is to increase academic confidence and introduce opportunities for higher education, particularly in STEM fields.

“Bank of America is committed to advancing economic mobility through workforce development, and education is a critical part of that goal,” said Ken Sheldon, New Hampshire market president. “We are proud to support the EXCELL-in-STEM program in its mission to foster the success of Manchester area youth in the STEM fields.”

In addition to supporting the ongoing summer program, Bank of America’s sponsorship will also help expand EXCELL to include afterschool activities throughout the coming academic year.

Before joining EXCELL, Armani Idris thought she hated science. Now, the two-time high school participant has decided to pursue a career in the medical field.

“I used to hate science, but EXCELL helped me to understand it better,” Idris said. “It helped me succeed in science class, especially in biology and DNA.”

Bank of America’s sponsorship reflects the spirit of partnership that helps make the program successful for students like Idris. Other partners include Southern New Hampshire Services and the Manchester School District itself, particularly English learning teachers who are tireless advocates for their students and the program.

Tina Proulx is one of those advocates. One of her favorite success stories is of an English learner in her class who attended the EXCELL program.

“She got such confidence from the EXCELL program,” Proulx said. “She’s since been successful in high school, advocating not to be in lower level classes and pushing herself right along.”

For more information about this and other programs, contact Emily Kerr.