On April 7, the first Momentum cohort looked back at their time and forward to their graduation this May with a celebratory dinner.
Momentum is a program that incoming first-years who are first generation college students have the option of participating in. “We accentuate the liberal arts,” Jean Paul Benowitz, director of student transition programs, said.
Upon their arrival at Elizabethtown College, Momentum students are introduced to the school’s interdisciplinary approach to higher education. They are able to meet with their professors, engage with upperclassmen and have a head start on the infamous college transition.
Every student involved in the program connects with a member of the peer mentor program Kinesis. The Momentum students frequently check in with their Kinesis members, who serve as their positive role models, to discuss time management and how to get engaged around campus. “We are cultivating the concept of lifelong learners,” Benowitz.
“[Program participants see] the broad array of all the things they can study here,” said Benowitz of how the connections with current students can help them find their place on campus.
The dinner provided the graduating class with an opportunity to meet with one another and discuss their experience with the program. With less than a month left as undergraduates, they reflected upon their time at Etown.
“I had a great time listening to our shared memories from four years ago. It made me feel old!” senior Momentum student Shanise Marshall said.
A benefit of the program is the opportunity that it provides its members to make meaningful connections with peers who they may not have had contact with otherwise. The diverse backgrounds of the Momentum participants, of which there are between 30 and 35 in each graduating class, add a special dynamic to the program that demonstrates to the students the interesting connections they will be able to make with others if they keep an open mind.
“I think Momentum contributes to a healthy understanding of the impact of diversity on our campus,” Benowitz said.
“It was a refreshing night to catch up with people I met four years ago but normally do not see,” Frank Capria, mass communications and pre-law double major, said. “It was also a great chance to reflect on my four years here at Etown.”
“Being a part of Momentum was one of the best decisions I [have] made,” junior Amelia Morales wrote in an essay reflecting upon her time in the program.
In the summer of 2011, upon concluding the first week as a student, 2015 graduate Michael Ruiz acknowledged the benefit of participating in the program. “Looking back on my time in Momentum, I don’t think there could be a better way to start out my freshman year at Etown.”
As the students prepare to graduate, they enjoyed reminiscing with one another one last time. Benowitz was especially proud of the students but is looking forward to welcoming a bright future for the program. He is certain that the first Momentum class’ legacy will live on in the program for years to come.