Becoming a Freshmen: Planning and Working for College Success

EDR is Helping the Graduates of Boston Adult Technical Academy to Apply and to Succeed in College

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From June 21 – July 14, EDR ran a new Summer School Program “Becoming a Freshmen: Planning and Working for College Success”. The program aims to help graduates of Boston Adult Technical Academy (BATA) to become successful college freshmen. The content and the classes of the program were especially designed to help students increase self-confidence; improve skills in self-motivation and self-discipline; and advance students’ understanding of academic offerings including majors and course requirements. Twelve (12) BATA graduates attended the program organized and offered free of charge by EDR.  Classes were held at UMass Boston and Harvard to give students chances to experience a college campus life throughout the program.

While enrolled in the program, participants also received ESL support so that they may prepare for college and share their rich cultural backgrounds with the community (e.g., Colombia, Cape Verde, Haiti, and El Salvador).  Program courses included Academic Writing and Oral Presentation in the Sciences. Oral Presentation in the Sciences course acquainted students with communication skills necessary in an academic setting through practicing self-introduction, science presentations, and providing feedback; the Academic Writing course allowed students to practice written self-representation, email communication with professors, practicing essays, and writing posts for discussion forums on different topics.

Taught by seasoned instructors of English and Science, the immigrant students, who are also ESL learners, were able to boost self-confidence and self-motivation by improving their learning, studying and communication skills. At the end of the program, students explained on how the program helped them to understand the expectations of college life, and how to take the needed steps to ensure their own success.

Below are some testimonials from BATA students who participated in the program:

Peterson Desmoulin, “It was a grand pleasure for me to participate into the summer [program].  I have learned the experience of many fact about life after high school and visited places, where I learned a lot about what is going on outside the earth, and learned new skill that will help me for my future learning.  I can’t thank enough people who made the program possible, also I wish this program countinue for next summer vacation and more student can learned and experience what life look like after high school”.

Correa Marin Jhovana, “…The program is close to end and I was thinking in what I learned while I was on it, then I will tell you that I learned a lot new information such as to have clear goals in my life, listen to my peers when they have something to say, how to see beyond of something, like to see any picture and imagine what it really want to make you think, and use our sense to figure it out.  Another important thing is what kind of person I want to be and why is important to be a role model. I learned a lot new information such as to have clear goals in my life, listen to my peers when they have something to say, how to see beyond something…Another important thing is what kind of person I want to be and why is important to be a role model… something I will remember is the class from July 12 when we visited MIT and saw a beautiful project in our space named CHANDRA.  It was very important because I did not have idea of the importance that it can be for the source of our existence. I loved to hear from all the people who work with CHANDRA because they share with us they knowledge.  The only thing that I would change is the time, only have more time, more days to know people and learned from them. Then I conclude that if I want to continue learning, the college can be the best way to do it, because it was like a short college experience that I hope I will make reality”.

Luz Agudelo, “What I like about the program is all the dedication that give to all the students and the help, when we have a question the answer and we also went to other places like Harvard and MIT, what I remember the most from the program is when we went to MIT, because I learn more about science and is also something I was interested to know about it, was something different for us the students and I am glad that we went there, what I have learned during this four week, I improve in my writing skills, also about history and science, i think I will not change anything about the program, all was great and I really liked”.

EDR ( is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) that strives to create a global community where anyone can achieve his or her dream and live in harmony through education.




EDR Leadership member Discusses Canada-Korea Ties

Step Up Program for ELLs in Local School Districts

ELLThe US education system has seen a massive increase in the number of multilingual students. In Boston Public School system, more than 40% of students speak a language other than English at home. With an increasing number of English Language Learners (ELLs) attending public schools, it is critical to provide additional learning opportunities to overcome linguistic and cultural barriers. ELLs have scored significantly lower on standardized exams than their native English speaking peers. Consistent underperformance results in low self-esteem, lack of motivation and discipline- problems that follow these students throughout their life.

EDR believes that all students have the ability to succeed if provided the adequate resources and support, and plans to introduce the STEP UP program to ELLs in local communities, which was developed and successfully implemented by TAHS, a partnering private educational institution.

STEP UP recognizes that academic achievement is not simply a function of cognitive ability and language proficiency but the result of a number of complex non-cognitive factors as well. Participants in the program learn to be responsible, disciplined and proactive about their own learning.

The mission of the STEP UP program is to instill low performing ELLs with adequate learning skills and confidence to help them succeed academically and professionally.

International Students Seminar

Undergraduates from Kyoto Gakuen University Japan

Faced with the concern about losing touch and failing to compete globally, the Japanese government has established programs to help the flow of international students in and out of the country.

Working closely with the University of Massachusetts Boston, EDR and TAHS successfully hosted 9 undergraduate students from Kyoto Gakuen University (Japan) in August, 2014.

Students at the Boston State House and Granary Grounds

By adopting a learner-initiated teaching model, this international student seminar introduced our students to the academic rigor required to study broad. The students’ learning outcomes were maximized through their active learning of various academic topics and participation in cultural events in Boston. From this program, they understood other cultures in the United States and cultural challenges in the globalizing world.


Students at a special seminar on gender studies at Harvard University Schlesinger Library, Cambridge, MA

Academic Forum – Africa: Looking through a Prism of Inequality


EDR hosted an academic forum inviting scholars from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Research Institute, the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Harvard University. Under the title of Africa: Looking through a Prism of Inequality, the participants of the forum discussed the perception of injustice, one of the largest destabilizes identified in Africa and violent conflict and reconciliation in Africa.

Event Summary

Armed conflict continues to rage in Africa regardless of how developed, politically stable, and economically prosperous some countries have become. One of the largest destabilizers identified in Africa is the perception of injustice. Based on significant analysis of conflict and reconciliation, contributors to Preventing Violent Conflict in Africa: Inequalities, Perceptions and Institutions, Prof. Yoichi Mine and Dr. Mari Katayanagi will discuss powersharing and decentralization as a vehicle for mitigating violence.


  • Prof. Yoichi Mine
    • Professor, Human Security and African Studies, Doshisha University, Japan
    • Visiting Fellow, JICA Research Institute
  • Dr. Mari Katayanagi
    • Senior Research Fellow, JICA Research Institute
  • Dr. Craig N. Murphy
    • M. Margaret Ball Professor, International Relations, Wellesley College
    • Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance,
    • McCormack Graduate School (MGS), University of Massachusetts Boston

Moderated by:

  • Dr. Timothy Shaw
    • Research Professor, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance
    • McCormack Graduate School, University of Massachusetts Boston

This event is cosponsored by the University of Massachusetts Boston, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security and Global Governance; and Educational Divide Reform (EDR). Special thanks go to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for its generous support.