[INTERPOSING VOICES] SHIVANI RAMSARAN: At first, I was just unsure about going away from my parents. You're going from the city to upstate New York. It's very rural here. But then I really just learned that I kind of do want to get out of New York by coming here. It's really nice over here, and I want to see the stars at night. That's the thing.
My name's Shivani. I'm from the Bronx, New York City. The first time I walked into campus, I was really shocked at how big it was and also the fact that I was at an Ivy League school. I was a bit nervous at first, but then I went to my classes and met a bunch of new people.
JIM SCHECHTER: Summer College Partnership with Marble Hill is a really exceptional collaboration. We really see the mutual benefits of this interaction between the students, our community of students on campus, and the faculty, knowing that we're enriching the school and knowing that they're enriching our program by complementing it with new diversity.
SHIVANI RAMSARAN: You're getting a small taste of the college experience, helping you be a bit more prepared. And I'm actually taking a college course that I would take if I were to come here. My class is only 13 people. We're just going over different solutions to issues and just seeing everyone's different takes on the solutions. I like learning about how everyone else can think as compared to how I think.
KIRSTEN LARSON: Marble Hill was opened in 2002 as one of the first small schools in the Bronx. We have, in our student body of 450 students, about 30 different languages.
SHIVANI RAMSARAN: My parents, they're from Trinidad. It's an island in the Caribbean. They were raised there. They just came here for more opportunities. And they also want to see me taking advantage of those opportunities and going to a good college. They were a bit nervous about letting me go away from them.
My mother, she owns a daycare. And my dad, he's a general maintenance worker for the New York City Housing Authority. During the summer, like right now, I would actually be helping my mom.
JIM SCHECHTER: The mission of the Summer College Program is to integrate talented, ambitious high school students into the fabric of Undergraduate Studies at Cornell. For Marble Hill students' experience, it's a laddering structure. Younger students who are rising sophomores come to campus to equip themselves with study skills for high school and attend a general summer youth camp, whereas older students-- rising juniors or seniors-- come to Summer College to jumpstart their college experience. They're earning college credits and a Cornell transcript.
We really want to broaden their worldview so they get a bigger sense beyond their community of who they can be and who they'll interact with in the future. And then we also want to expand their academic skill set, strengthen those.
GLENN ALTSCHULER: It's hard to believe that three weeks or six weeks will make that dramatic a change, but it does. It really does.
SHIVANI RAMSARAN: I feel like [INAUDIBLE] maybe a quick video just to help you understand the--
I like being well-rounded in every subject. I like math. I like science. I like English, history, all that. I like to do everything that I can.
JIM SCHECHTER: We want them to leave Cornell Summer Experience with a sense of newfound confidence in who they are and what their possibilities are.
SHIVANI RAMSARAN: Yeah, I definitely want to go to college. Yeah.
SHIVANI RAMSARAN: Because I know recently I was thinking about maybe I would apply to coming here. I enjoyed the way the classes were structured, because I went into some of my friends' classes too when I was off in the afternoons. It was just like, wow.
My professor also made it clear that we were ready for college. And it's just like, wow. I could do that. [LAUGHS] I successfully completed a college class.
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Shivani Ramsaran is one of dozens of South Bronx high schoolers who have become better prepared for college thanks to scholarships and programs at Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions.