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STELLAR Program Welcomes International Students

Posted by Pengxeu Thao '15, Roseville on Friday, Jul. 25, 2014

The University of Minnesota, Morris welcomed 31 international students on Monday, July 21, for the 2014 Summer Transition for English Language and Liberal Arts Readiness (STELLAR) program. The four-week program will give students a strong foundation in the liberal arts and prepare them for success on campus.

During the program, students will explore the campus’s liberal arts curriculum through classes taught by Simon Tillier, instructor of music, Tim Lindberg, instructor of political science, Clement Loo, assistant professor of environmental studies, and Barbara Burke, associate professor of communication, media, and rhetoric. They will also receive English instruction from Nancy Pederson, English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator, Ryan Schamp, ESL instructor, and Monica Farah, visiting ESL instructor.

There is also a shared class taken by both Gateway program and STELLAR program participants, Navigating Campus and Community. The students learn library skills with Kellie Meehlhause, Briggs Library instruction coordinator, and service learning with Argie Manolis, coordinator of community engagement. They also will do service-learning projects in the community.

Students who participate in the program gain valuable skills to enrich their college experience. While the program has just entered its fourth year, research conducted by the International Student Program (ISP) has shown that STELLAR participants perform better during the school year and are more active in the campus community.

“The research we have done in ISP shows that students who go through the STELLAR program have a higher GPA and are more confident in becoming student leaders than students in the same cohort who choose not to go through the program,” says Leslie Gubash, international student success coordinator. “STELLAR has been a very successful program in preparing our students to hit the ground running in the fall.”

In addition to preparing students for successful college careers, STELLAR gives international students the opportunity to connect with domestic students through shared activities with the Gateway program. Students will bond through game nights, a ropes course, a trip to Valleyfair, and a dance party at the end of the program. These activities allow incoming students from both programs to build early friendships and create connections between international and domestic communities.

“As we aim to achieve these goals, we learn a lot about our international students and differences in cultures in the process,” says Gubash. “We do our best to make sure the goals we set for students and the knowledge and skills they learn will help them be successful in the worldwide market.”

The STELLAR program will run through Friday, August 20. For more information, please contact the International Student Program at 320-589-6099 or