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STELLAR Program Welcomes Incoming International Students

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013

The International Student Program has welcomed 29 incoming international students for the 2013 Summer Transition for English Language and Liberal Arts Readiness (STELLAR) program. The goal of the program is to give international students a strong foundation in academic English and to familiarize them with the liberal arts, campus, and community to prepare them for success in the coming academic year.

“International students often go through a period of adjustment when they first arrive at an American university,” says Nancy Pederson, English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator and one of the program founders. “STELLAR gives the students experience in the classroom, functioning in English, and a comfort level with their surroundings that make it much easier for them to be successful, to ‘hit the ground running’ as they begin fall semester.”

Leslie Gubash, international student success coordinator, agrees, adding, “English language preparedness is key to international students’ success. Students going through the STELLAR program tend to be more prepared academically, they tend to become student leaders on campus, and they are more prepared on average than international students who do not go through the program.”

Program participants are immersing themselves in all that a liberal arts education in the United States entails. They are exploring the liberal arts with Mark Collier, associate professor of philosophy, Michael Eble, associate professor of studio art, Margaret Kuchenreuther, associate professor of biology, and Tim Lindberg, instructor of political science. Students are also receiving intensive English instruction with Pederson and Ryan Schamp, ESL instructor.

The STELLAR program provides participants cultural and academic enrichment opportunities that complement their academic experiences—the itinerary includes trips to Minneapolis, Duluth, Starbuck, Glenwood, Pomme de Terre Park, the Stevens County Fair, and more. The program also includes a service learning component supported by the Office of Community Engagement and a joint class offering with the University’s Gateway program.

“Our goal is to ease the transition into Morris, and STELLAR addresses that in a complete way,” says Pederson. “Students do not need to be prepared only to sit in a classroom. They also have to be prepared to live comfortably in a new culture.”

The STELLAR program began Monday, July 22, and will run through Friday, August 16. For more information, please contact the International Student Program at 320-589-6094 or