In Scholars’ Words
Dorian Stubblefield, DUCA Scholar 2014
"I’ve been to many different computer science programs throughout the past couple of years, and DUCA is truly like no other.
For starters, the Drexel University Computing Academy is the only place I’ve been where a group of strangers could become a family in less than a day. On the first night of DUCA, I recall going out to a restaurant with twelve other scholars from the program, and speaking with each other as if we had known each other for years. The feeling of inclusion goes a long way in a multiple week academy like this. Being comfortable with the people in the program is much more important than the program itself.
One moment that really stood out to me during DUCA occurred while we were at the bowling alley. A fellow classmate of mine seemed to not want to be there. He was sitting in the corner alone, as if he were having a bad time. Ann, not knowing that this student was just waiting for his order of food, asked me to go over and make sure everything was alright. She knew that I had been hanging out with him, and that a familiar face may be able to cheer him up. Its things like that, happening on multiple occasions that really give the program a good vibe.
Now, while the family and inclusion aspect was there, the academics were too. This was one of the most vigorous, challenging, and beneficial curriculums I’ve ever been a part of. The amount of knowledge we gained in five weeks is priceless. I saw the projects from last year, and let me say that I think we have you all beat. The program, instead of giving you one topic with one professor, puts you through numerous classes with an average of five or six different professors a week. Take this and add on the final week’s projects, and you’re looking at as close of a college experience a high school student could have.
The dorm life was a mixture of social and academic activities. There was always something to do on each floor. Weather you were competing in one of the many game tournaments we arranged, or you were doing some extra class work, you were busy.
I personally loved how the students with more knowledge on a subject helped, and even taught other students who may have been struggling with, or had less knowledge of, the same subject. The staggering of students abilities allowed for the continual learning for students by students, in and out of the classroom.
With every good experience comes its pitfalls, luckily ours was as trivial as a lack of the opposite sex. It probably kept us more focussed. Overall all, I recommend the Drexel University Computer Academy to any rising Junior or Senior who would like a little taste of the college experience. Thank You."
Ben Kim, DUCA Scholar 2012
"After spending the past five weeks here at Drexel University Computing Academy, I have come to realize that this incalculably valuable experience is comparable to child’s first encounter with a puppy; either the child and the dog embrace each other, and harbor a passionate relationship that the two thrive off of for the rest of each other’s live, or the dog bites the kid in the face and the child has life changing experience. I will be honest; I have had my fair share of bites to the face here at D.U.C.A. as have many of my fellow scholars. We have been challenged. DUCA took us to another level of technical knowledge on computer. It pushed us out of our comfort zone. However in the end, I am certain that all of us have learned to embrace not only the puppy that is computing, but the blood hound of life. The values, experiences, and knowledge we have all gained here the past month or so are not limited to the understanding of computing. As matter of fact, our acclimation to computing is miniscule in comparison to how it impacted us as a whole person; At such a pivotal moment in our lives, we scholars could not have asked for a greater opportunity than D.U.C.A. to aid our transition towards next place in our lives. I think that all of us scholars can agree that the first day or so here at the program were a little gimpy. With few of us knowing each other, and each of us having such an individually unique character, it was only expected that it would take some time for the mutual awkwardness amongst us to diminish. However, it only took a few hours, thanks to some stupendously creative ice-breakers staffs prepared for us. The program/staffs had programs ready that encouraged conversations. In no time we all broke out of our shells, and embark on the five week journey that has proved to be a landmark moment in our lives. Throughout the program, we scholars encountered many revelations to technical aspect of computing. Some lectures were engaging and invigorating. Then there were moments when we felt tested; those bite in the face moments…I am fairly certain that nearly all of us were bewildered by the data-basing lectures. Nonetheless, all of these experiences augmented our knowledge of computing. As scholars, we have all had a healthy share of memorable moments here at D.U.C.A.; whether it was waking up at 7:47 and brushing your teeth, taking a shower, getting changed, and coming to the T.V. lounge by 7:50 in time to go to breakfast, or racing to the cafeteria while dodging through thick Philadelphia traffic, or writing this speech at four in the morning last night, all the experiences we have had here have stimulated our growth as human beings. The moments we have shared here have defined our first step to independence. We have been forced, often against our own will, to exercise our maturity, to assert our time management, to try our integrity… and no matter how stingy the rules may have been, not matter how gimpy we may have felt at times, we have undoubtedly advanced, benefited, and developed through investing our time here at this program. Thus it is the least we could do to extend the most sincere “thank you” to all of those that have made this experience as rich, yielding, and engaging as it has been. Thank you, to all the parents who funded our stay at Drexel University Computing Academy, who without you, we literally would not have been able to get here. Thank you, to Mrs. Sheridan, who, as the spearhead of this organization, never failed to lend a hand of aid, always reassuring our comfort while at the program, also keeping our parents informed through emails. Thank you to all of the professors who enriched our minds, and enlightened us to the endless universe of computing. Thank you to all of the R.A.s, counselors, and Charles’ who had to put up with all of our shenanigans for the past five weeks. Thank you for your patience and rare caliber of care. Most importantly though, my gratitude to all of my fellow scholars, whom as a team, made the DUCA 2012 a unique experience. We were a family for past five weeks and touched each others lives. I will miss you and I hope we will be present in each others lives in the future. Seriously though, all of your individual and distinct personalities and talents have made the past weeks a dynamic endeavor. Now lets carry what we have learned here, and apply it to your individual lives. It is my hope that we Drexel University Computing Academy class of 2012 will be able to set a new horizon."