OMED Welcomes Incoming First-Year Students to 41st Challenge Program 

The 2021 Challenge program welcomed incoming first-year Georgia Tech students this summer, representing the 41st year OMED: Educational Services (OMED) has hosted the five-week, summer-intensive academic program. 

Participants resided on campus in Perry, Matheson, and Hopkins residence halls June 26-July 30 while preparing for college life by addressing the “7Cs:” computer science, chemistry, calculus, communication, career development, cultural competency, and community service. The students attended courses taught by Georgia Tech professors to obtain an academic head start into the Institute’s curriculum. 

More than 20 years of data reflect that students who participate in Challenge graduate from Tech at a higher rate, with superior academic performance, than their non-Challenge counterparts. 

“We are excited to host Challenge in a slightly re-opened campus environment,” OMED Assistant Director of Outreach Initiatives and Director of the Challenge program Jelani Liddell said.  

“Also, tthese student participants are excited to learn in-person again. When you think about it, they've had to learn virtually for nearly two years now," Liddell continuted. "Their 11th and 12th grade development may have been different. That's why I feel our program is even more critical at this time to give our participants a snapshot of in-person college life and help them adjust, not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.” 
 
In addition to the academic rigor, participants made new friends during the opening weekend cookout and scavenger hunt; took part in dinners with corporate partners; performed community service activities; and battled the rapids of the Ocoee River during the annual white water rafting excursion. 

This year included a new team project assignment where students joined in small groups to design and present social equity and STEM team projects. Judges rated the projects, which were to include a video and in-person group presentation. 

The cohort of just over 100 students included nine Georgia Tech Enhancing Science, Technology, EnginEering, and Math Educational Diversity Scholars (ESTEEMED); five National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering Scholars​; and four Achieve Atlanta Scholars. 20% of eligible incoming underrepresented minority students participated in the program. 

The program capped with a closing banquet sponsored by Amazon and BP on July 29 in the Georgia Tech Hotel Ballroom. Challenge counselors (former Challenge participants who guide and support current participants throughout the program) and student participants offered reflections. Academic awards were presented by course instructors, along with scholarship awards by BP, the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, and OMED. 

The 2021 Challenge program was supported by the following corporate partners: Amazon, BP, Capital One, Eaton, John Deere, Marathon, P&G, PwC.

To learn more about the Challenge program, visit omed.gatech.edu/programs/challenge

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  • The 2021 Challenge Program Cohort

  • A panel of instructors spoke with parents on move-in day. Challenge participants took courses taught by Georgia Tech professors.

  • Participants learned the "7Cs:” computer science, chemistry, calculus, communication, career development, cultural competency, and community service.

  • The five-week Challenge program closed with an awards banquet for participants and their guardians.

  • Students received certificates, rewards, prizes, and scholarships at the closing banquet.

For More Information Contact

Courtney Hill
Communications Manager
Institute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
courtney.hill@gatech.edu