Barbecue, biking and baseball. What better way to welcome a group of 10-to-18-year-old Chinese students to the United States and West Virginia University?

Throw in a side of the University’s science, technology, engineering and math programs, and administrators hope a group of visitors to campus next week will return for their college education.

In partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, WVU will welcome 81 Chinese students to campus July 24-26 as part of the International Ambassador Program in partnership with the Boy Scouts of America. The program, in its second year, is part of a week-long exchange opportunity to inspire interest in STEM.

In addition to staying on campus for three days, the program participants will have the chance to experience a number of outdoor activities, such as rock climbing, mountain biking, and hiking, at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in southern West Virginia.

Sarah Ma, program coordinator and an international admissions counselor in the WVU Office of Admissions, says that one of the purposes of the program is to give the students an opportunity to experience American culture. Upon their arrival on campus, the students will be treated to a barbeque, and then they will be attending a West Virginia Black Bears baseball game at Monongalia County Ballpark.

“Last year we had 51 students, mostly boys, sign up for the program, and they are all from mainland China,” Ma said. “This year we have 81 participants coming, and they range in ages from 10-18. This year’s group includes a much larger number of girls as well, so we’re excited about that.”

The second day will be spent in some of WVU’s classrooms and laboratories to focus on STEM principles. The program participants will be taking a “Science Behind the Sport” class with Andrew Hoover, an instructional coordinator in WVU’s “Science Behind the Sport” program, and then meet with Ryan Sigler, coordinator of enrollment management with the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, to participate in a number of engineering activities, and explore some of the engineering laboratories that the College has to offer.

“During their time here, they will be staying in the residence halls, eating in the dining halls, and they’ll be able to go to the rec center, and hopefully they’ll be able to get a taste of student life,” said Ma.

On the last day, the students will participate in a closing ceremonies and receive a certificate that shows that they attended the program.

Ma is appreciative of the number of departments on campus that support and help host the program, and says that in the future they’d love to get more departments to participate if interested.

WVU has more than 2,000 international students that come from 110 different countries across the world.

“We’d hope that by the end of the program that, eventually, when they choose where they want to go to college, that they’ll choose to enroll in WVU,” said Ma.



CONTACT: Sarah Ma; WVU Office of Admissions

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