Sundial Summer 2014 Experience: Charlotte Johnson

b1My experiences in the Sundial Summer Program have been invaluable. This program has provided me with a solid foundation and support system before my undergraduate classes have even begun. I have grown more familiar with the campus, met awesome professors and students, learned how accessible undergraduate research can be, and just had fun!

The Sundial Summer program has facilitated networking opportunities with professors and current students. We were able to meet and engage professors in a casual setting- usually over lunch. This informal discussion led to very productive discourse about research and academic life. Having the opportunity to engage professors and current ASU students on a personal level has presented amazing opportunities to hear thoughts on university life from both student and faculty perspective. One of my favorite parts was going on lab tours and learning about undergraduate research. I was surprised at how accessible undergraduate research can be if you take the initiative and directly approach professors about it. The lab tours gave us a small sample of the types of research being conducted at ASU by Physics and SESE students just like us.

During the Sundial Summer Program, we had the opportunity to learn physics and math concepts in a classroom setting, but without the stress of homework and such that is found during the normal school year. These two classes helped us transition out of our lazy summer schedule, introducing us to college classrooms and material. The safety net of the bridge program allowed us to begin life at ASU with a support system of facilitators and peers to help us become accustomed to using student success resources provided by ASU. During the Sundial Summer Program, I became more familiar with these student success resources available at ASU. These include, but are not limited to: math tutoring centers, writing centers, Supplemental Instruction, and library study rooms.

An integral part of the Sundial Summer Program was helping incoming students become familiar with ASU’s sometimes daunting campus. We were able to participate in dual purpose activities like scavenger hunts that helped familiarize us with campus landmarks while encouraging social interaction. I think these types of activities really characterize a main purpose of the Sundial Summer Program- provide students with useful information while showing them college does not have to be a drag. Many of our activities were facilitated in part by a club that can be found on campus. For example, the Argentine Tango Club taught us how to Argentine Tango and we learned how to play Humans vs. Zombies from the Urban Games Club. The Sundial Summer Program also introduced us to the Sundial Project- a program for Physics students that we can continue to be involved with after the Summer Program has ended.

One of the biggest benefits of the Sundial Summer Program has been meeting other students in my major. Some of them are even in my classes this Fall. Having the knowledge that I will see a familiar face when I walk into my first class is very comforting and helps me look forward even more to the first day of class. The Sundial Summer Program did very well with presenting us with opportunities to get to know each other outside of the classroom. The program provided lunch and dinner every day in the Manzanita dining hall, providing a fun way to bond with the other student over free food.