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SBU Hosts LILTA Young Women’s Summer Institute


Stony Brook University held its first overnight Long Island Latino Teachers Association (LILTA) Young Women’s Summer Institute on campus. From July 16 through July 18, the University hosted 13 female high school juniors and seniors. The young ladies were recommended for this program by guidance counselors and teachers from areas such as Brentwood, Central Islip and Islip. They had the opportunity to enjoy two and a half days of activities and met with a wide variety of academic professionals who gave them a better understanding of different paths they could choose in college. During their visit, the students experienced dorm life with a stay in Irving College. They also ate at Eastside Dining with other students and kids from other camps.

A group of 13 female high school students enjoyed a few days of activities on campus as part of the LILTA Young Women’s Summer Institute.
A group of 13 female high school students enjoyed a few days of activities on campus as part of the LILTA Young Women’s Summer Institute.

Their first day as Seawolves began with the “Start Smart” program. Cathrine Duffy, Associate Director of Student Support, discussed the gender wage gap and what women can do to ensure they get equal pay. “It’s important to discuss the wage gap between women and men because many students aren’t aware that it exists. Once they realize that women will earn significantly less than their equally qualified male peers — and that the gap widens for women of color — they become activated to do something about it.

Next, Erika Karp, Staff Assistant for the School of Journalism, gave examples of fake news and how to distinguish between real and fake news in the media. Later in the day, the students explored the different plants and greenery on campus with Distinguished Professor of Geology Gilbert Hanson, who helped them and identify various organisms found on campus. The young ladies were also given swag bags filled with memorabilia to remember their stay at Stony Brook University. 

The following day, they had the chance to take a swab from their mouth and take home a sample of their own DNA in an experiment with students from the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society. The activity was managed by Sishir Pasumarthy, President of the Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, Alumni Timothy Jack Tan and advisor Mei Lin Chan. Then, Judith Burke-Berhannan, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, and Terri Ryan, Senior Financial Aid Administrator, discussed how to craft their college essay and the different ways to obtain financial aid in college.

“If given a taste of college, it could change their life,” said Dafny Irizarry, President of LILTA.

To end their time at Stony Brook University,  the students reflected on their visit with Dr. Jarvis Watson, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, and shared their views of the experience.

LILTA is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to increase graduation rates and encourage higher education enrollment and retention. The LILTA Young Women’s Summer Institute was coordinated through the Stony Brook University Community Relations Office and funded through the Campus Plan for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. 

Johanna Baeyens, Community Relations

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