Caister students mentored by Cambridge undergrads
From the start of this academic year, Year 10s from Caister Academy, Great Yarmouth, have been working with Cambridge undergraduate students as part of an ongoing mentoring project to help them understand about university.
The project was designed by University of Cambridge researchers and used an online mentoring programme to enable the students to keep in touch with their mentors – getting feedback on their project and asking questions about university at the same time.
The Caister students were given the opportunity through Take Your Place, a programme designed to help students find their way to university. Take Your Place is a programme delivered by the Network for East Anglian Collaborative Outreach (neaco). The project is all about raising aspirations to higher education but also improving students’ understanding of, and preparedness for, applying for higher education.
Ems Saer, A Cambridge undergraduate Classics student who acted as a mentor for students completing Life in Ancient Greece topic, commented “I thoroughly enjoyed being an online mentor for the Neaco project. The brightside platform was excellent and easy to use and it was such a joy for me to work alongside my mentees, as they navigated a new area of learning and shared their ideas.
Lindsey Jonesman, Highly Able Champion for neaco explained, “Students chose between Law and Order, Exploring the Brain and Life in Ancient Greece. The project began with a visit to Cambridge where they spent the day at Girton College, hearing about the different projects and working in groups. The students were then matched with a mentor who is a current undergraduate student studying a related subject to their project.”
Students then completed weekly tasks back at school guiding them through the background of their topic and got them to formulate their own ideas surrounding their topic. They kept in touch with their mentors through an online messaging platform, Brightside, to discuss their work and also ask any questions they had about university or the future. Their final project was a 500 word blog post to explain their topic to a wider audience.
Sarah Arnold, Caister Academy librarian, supported the students through their projects said, “All the students enjoyed the challenge. Their hard work ended with them producing a 500 word Blog on a variation of the study material. At the final session in Pembroke College, Cambridge, each group produced a PowerPoint presentation and poster on their chosen subject and had a visit to the Museum of Anthropology. [They are now] looking forward to attending university in a few years’ time.”
Ems Saer continues, “On our project close day I was thrilled with the engagement and enthusiasm shown by all the students, who had worked brilliantly and consistently to complete their blog posts. I’m very proud of everything they achieved and hope that it inspires them in their future academic endeavours.”