Maxine Rodburg, director of the Crimson Summer Academy and a former Expository Writing preceptor at Harvard, said her greatest reward in designing and directing the program has been following her students beyond their graduation from CSA.
“It’s quite remarkable,” Rodburg said. “We’ve really built a community here.”
Rodburg said the community is composed of CSA mentors, who are either Harvard undergraduates or CSA alumni, and teachers, most of whom have direct ties to Harvard.
Jefferson Correia, a graduate of the first CSA class in 2007 and a 2011 Syracuse University graduate, said this community enabled him to learn among other similarly-ambitious students and form long-lasting friendships.
“I always had a desire to learn, and I don’t know how you can instill that in anybody,” Correia said. “So many people just don’t have confidence in themselves, and a lot that is because other people have told them they can’t do it.”
Eda Kaceli ’16, a 2012 CSA graduate, said the program gave her the confidence to apply to top-tier schools, something her high school had not provided her.
Studies on students in the 10 percent of college aptitude test takers by Harvard Kennedy School researcher Christopher N. Avery ’88 have shown that many capable students from low-income families do not apply to top-tier schools because they simply are not aware of the options available to them.
“Education is ideally the antecedent of income and social mobility,” Avery, who has worked with CSA in tracking students’ progress during the program and into their college years, said. “It’s almost a universal phenomenon that students who attend the program have found success in later years.”