High School Drop-out and Former Actress Host College “Symposium”

High School Drop-out and Former Actress Host College “Symposium”

High School Drop-out and Former Actress Host College “Symposium”

April 23, 2008

Adrienne Herrera, Program for Academic Leadership and Service Scholar

A high-school drop-out turned Columbia University professor and a former actress turned Columbia student teamed-up with Teach For America volunteers at two New York City public high schools to provide a grassroots effort that encourages college attendance. Symposium, as titled, paired 21 Global Enterprise Academy and Henry Street School for International Studies students with 21 GS and CC students on April 18 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in 417 Hamilton Hall.

Symposium organizer, Adrienne Herrera, a former actress turned GS student, asserts Symposium is unlike any other college outreach program. “The event is based on the idea of a Greek symposium, whose purpose is to gather people together in a forum where everyone’s ideas are heard. This is not a mentoring program; we wanted to get rid of the hierarchy. We formatted the day’s activities to be an exchange of ideas between the high school and college students,” Herrera said.

The centerpiece of the day was a special class for Symposium participants taught by high school drop-out turned Columbia University English professor Jill Muller on Euripides’ “Medea.” After a discussion and interpretation of the piece, participants formed groups and performed scenes from the play. “I decided to have students perform as a part of the class because it’s important that they know college is not only about reading all the right books, but also about tapping into their own gifts,” Muller said.