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Newberry College’s Bridge to Big Ideas Awarded Teagle Foundation Grant

June 16, 2020


NEWBERRY — Newberry College has announced that Dr. Naomi Simmons, associate professor of sociology, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation to support the Bridge to Big Ideas summer program. The free program for local rising high school seniors will be held July 27 through Aug. 7.


The New York-based foundation, which promotes and strengthens liberal arts education through grant initiatives, will fund the program’s move entirely online for the 2020 session due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


“I am so grateful for the opportunity the Teagle Foundation has given us to expand this program and to continue to engage students in our community with the liberal arts,” said Simmons, creator and coordinator of the program.


The summer seminar offers Newberry County’s rising high school seniors an intellectually rigorous college-style experience. This includes the opportunity to work with Newberry College professors and student mentors, complete college-level work and put classical and contemporary works into perspective with their own observations and experiences.


This year, the program will be held entirely online. Participants will be provided with laptops and daily, locally prepared lunches, all at no cost to students. Successful completion of the 10-day program also guarantees admission to Newberry College.


“This program has a unique philosophy of college readiness,” said Simmons. “We structure discussions and activities that encourage independent thought, and we build confidence by providing an opportunity to practice skills in critical thinking and effective communication. By the end of the program, these students know they have the capacity to be successful in college.”


Simmons added that she and her team will continue to develop the program into a fully residential format for future summers.


Bridge to Big Ideas was launched in 2018 with funding from the Grant-McDonald Foundation, which will continue to provide the Great Books series supplied to all participants, and will assist in providing instructional technology for the 2020 session. With this program, Newberry College belongs to a consortium of similar programs at Carthage College, Columbia University and Yale University.


The program is open to all rising high school seniors in Newberry County. For more information, contact or

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