The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) successfully hosted the fifth annual Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES) Summer Bridge Program from June 18-22, 2018. ACES is the collaborative effort of USG, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery College (MC), which seeks to create a seamless pathway from high school to college completion. ACES focuses on identifying and supporting students who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Students apply to ACES during their sophomore year and if accepted, are assigned an academic coach during their junior and senior year. Close to 300 rising senior ACES scholars attended last week’s program.

ACES towerThe ACES Summer Bridge program “Why Not You” focused on career preparation and exploration. Students participated in activities that developed leadership, teamwork, and interpersonal skills essential for success in today’s workforce. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a Career Expo, which featured a myriad of career options from local businesses and organizations in Montgomery County (MoCo), including Advertising & Media Production, Army ROTC, ASD/SKY, Baltimore Rent-a-Tour, BB&T Bank, Bethesda Magazine, MoCo Department of Health & Human Services, MoCo Department of Correction & Rehabilitation, MoCo Department of Environmental Protection, MoCo Police Department, MoCo Sheriff's Office, Moco Parks, Emergent BioSolutions, J. Craig Venter Institute, NASA/Sierra Lobo, Inc., Office of Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker, Panda Programmer, Property Management Association, Renoxx Caregivers, Westat and Wilniq Auto Body.

Sara RuizOne exercise required students to write an “elevator speech” pitching why they would be a good fit for their dream job. USG’s Executive Director, Dr. Stewart Edelstein, asked students to deliver their “elevator speeches” to him and then spoke about the importance of career preparation.

Sara Ruiz, a recent graduate of the first ACES class, was the keynote speaker. She successfully completed the pathway and graduated from University of Maryland, College Park Robert H. Smith School of Business with a degree in Accounting. She has accepted a job with Grant Thornton in Baltimore.

View photos of the event.