university-toursDonna High School student Karyme Pulido is only a sophomore but she knows exactly where she wants to go to college and what she wants to pursue as a career, thanks to a school trip she took this past summer.

The sophomore and three other Donna ISD students had a unique opportunity to visit three Ivy League schools through the Texas Graduate Center’s (TGC) MathTeach Collaborative. The initiative pays for university tours if the school district recruits teachers to participate in the Master of Liberal Arts in Mathematics program at Harvard University. Currently, two Donna ISD educators are enrolled and earning their degrees.

“For every teacher a school district sponsors in TG’s Harvard Extension School’s Math for Teaching Graduate program, they can send two students from the district on the university tour,” TGC’s Associate Director Adriana Lopez said. “The university tour includes visits to Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brown University. This will be Donna ISD’s third year participating in the program.”

Lopez said the tours are invaluable. “The purpose of these tours is to provide students an opportunity to explore universities they may not have initially considered for their postsecondary education,” Lopez said. “We hope that exposing students to campus life at Ivy League universities demystifies these universities and students will no longer feel that an Ivy League education is something unattainable. Once they are there and see the campus, an Ivy League education becomes a possibility.”

university-tours-4DHS’s Pulido was sold on that possibility when she stepped foot on the Harvard University campus. “I was in awe,” Pulido said of the tours. “The three schools were so welcoming. Everyone was so nice and the environment at each campus was amazing. But the one school that stood out to me was Harvard. I couldn’t believe I was there because I would only see the campus in the movies when I was a little kid. I could actually see myself attending school there. I left knowing that it’s the school I want to attend if I get accepted.”

Each tour included an information session with students that covered topics such as course selection, financial aid and admissions, college life, scholarships, study abroad programs, and undergraduate research opportunities. Pulido said that now that she is informed, she believes that her chances of getting into Harvard are better. “I didn’t know Harvard had all of these different programs you could choose from,” Pulido said. “Hearing from admissions officers on what they actually look for in an application was really helpful. I know now exactly what to put on the application.”

Pulido’s aspirations are to become a lawyer. “First I want to get my bachelor’s degree in Political Science and then from there hopefully go to law school and get my degree in law,” Pulido said. “My dream is to practice law.”

Donna ISD’s Math and Science Department will seek applications from students interested in participating in the upcoming summer university tours. The district will review the applications and select two students from Donna High School and two from Donna North High School. For more information, contact the department at 956-1600 ext.1055.