New Future Comets Program Prepares Students for College Success

The Future Comets program helps students with math enrichment classes, leadership development workshops and activities designed to introduce students to STEM careers. Seventh-graders participated in the program during a camp over the summer. If you are having trouble watching the video, view it on Vimeo.

A new program at The University of Texas at Dallas is preparing students from underserved communities to become Comets before they even enter high school.

About 30 seventh-graders from the Dallas Independent School District and surrounding districts are Future Comets. The Office of Diversity and Community Engagement started the program this fall.

“Our goal is to help students from underserved backgrounds become successful UT Dallas students,” said Dr. George Fair, vice president, Diversity and Community Engagement and dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. “Future Comets is an important part of our efforts to increase the diversity of students who enroll in the University.”

Future Comets

Kimaari Mondy, 13, tests a bridge made of straws during an activity as part of the Future Comets program.

Future Comets spend time on campus each month for activities including math enrichment, leadership development, introduction to STEM careers, and assistance with college entrance exams and financial aid applications at the appropriate time.

“We’re taking a group of seventh-graders to create a pipeline of students and prepare them to come to UT Dallas in the long run,” said David Robinson, assistant director of community engagement. “We want these students to be not only college-ready, but UT Dallas-enrolled.”

Each year, a new group of seventh-graders will join the program. Participants are referred by their schools.

“Future Comets is a great opportunity for students to get ahead in their high schools by starting early, at a young age,” said Raul Hinojosa Jr., director of community engagement. “We try to keep them on track or ahead of other students in their class, so they’ll be ready to enter a rigorous college like UT Dallas.”

Future Comets

Students enter the Future Comets program in seventh grade, and participate in summer camps and Saturday sessions on-campus through high school graduation. Here are the upcoming Saturday sessions: (Note: Registration closes the Saturday prior to each session)

  • Dec. 2
  • Feb. 17
  • March 24
  • April 21
  • May 19

The program kicked off with a four-day camp during the summer to introduce participants to UT Dallas. Students stayed in Residence Hall West and attended sessions on math, vocabulary and goal-setting in addition to movie night and an ice cream social.

Like many of the students participating in Future Comets, 13-year-old Diana Lazo would be a first-generation college student.

“I want to learn more about the school and the opportunities they have here and probably come here in the future,” Lazo said. “It’s been great. It’s an awesome school.”

Preston Ravin’s principal suggested he look into the program. The 12-year-old already has become familiar with the University by participating in UT Dallas’ annual African American Male Academic Bowl.

“I thought it would be cool to learn more about math and explore the sights of the school because I may want to come here when I grow up,” Ravin said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].