Abraham to Lead Program for Low-Income, First Gen Students

{image id=1322025 size=large byline=TRUE caption="Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana speaks at an Undergraduate Council meeting in April 2017 about his decision to reject a proposed summer program for low-income and first generation students."}Sadé Abraham will serve as director of a new summer program geared toward first generation, low-income, and under-resourced freshmen after much campus-wide debate about developing such a program.

Abraham, who is currently pursuing a second degree from the Graduate School of Education, will oversee the yet-to-be-named program, with its pilot launch planned for the summer of 2018. She did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday evening.

The new pre-orientation option—which Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana announced in August—followed Khurana’s rejection of the First Year Institute, a program designed specifically for low-income students, in March 2017. The First Year Institute was modeled closely after the First Year Enrichment Program, presented to the Undergraduate Council by Savannah N. Fritz ’17 in spring 2015.

The First Year Enrichment Program proposed that low-income students arrive early to campus to facilitate their adjustment to Harvard. Fritz's initiative suggested these students sit down with College administrators, speak with representatives from the Financial Aid Office and Office of Career Services, and meet with academic counselors before starting school.

Though the Freshman Dean’s Office has yet to announce the details of the new program, it is looking to utilize a student-run steering committee to “help shape and create the pre-orientation program in a way that matches the needs of the students,” according to an email from pre-orientation program chairs James A. Bedford ’20 and Andrew Perez ’20. The steering committee will meet weekly with Abraham and 20 student leaders will be selected in late August 2018 to help run the new program.


In its pilot, the four-day program is expected to serve approximately 100 incoming freshmen, according to Dean of Freshmen Thomas A. Dingman ‘67. It will be the sixth pre-orientation program available to incoming students, joining Dorm Crew’s Fall Clean-Up, the First-Year Arts Program, the First-Year International Program, the First-Year Outdoor Program, and the First-Year Urban Program.

—Staff writer William S. Flanagan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @willflan21.

—Staff writer Katherine E. Wang can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @katherineewang.


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