Filling Their CUPP: Enhancing pathways students’ summer experience at Columbia

Columbia's Pathways Program students came together to enjoy a summer barbecue, a research symposium, and a networking workshop.

September 12, 2022

With opportunities to present their research, learn to network, and enjoy an outdoor barbecue, Columbia's Pathways Program students have been busy this summer.

Columbia University is home to more than thirty programs that serve students from historically underrepresented groups as they consider their paths in higher education. This summer, theOffice of the Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement brought these students together for the first time. Part of the Inclusive Faculty Pathways Initiative, the Columbia University Pathways Programs (CUPP) serves as a central hub, providing a platform for networking, administrative support, and joint programming.

Photo of several students seated in a circle on the grass; in the background, small groups of students stand talking

The summer CUPP programming kicked off with an online professional development session on June 22nd. Three pathways programs alumni (Imaani Easthausen, Luci Hernandez, and Ellie Rodriguez) talked about their studies at Columbia, their mentoring experiences, and their career trajectories afterwards. Afterward, Associate Director for Faculty Advancement, Jen Leach, led 160 attendees through the process of creating a professional-looking LinkedIn profile. Throughout the event, attendees connected in the newly-formed CUPP LinkedIn group to keep in touch with their peers.

In early July, the summer program participants came together on the Math Lawns for the CUPP Cookout, an afternoon of music and games that was attended by more than 250 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. In attendance were participants from twenty different programs; some, like SPURS and Amazon SURE researchers, had arrived on the Columbia campus for the first time just a week before, while others, like PrIMER trainees, had already been working under the supervision of Columbia mentors for an entire academic year. The engaging event was met with excitement, with one student remarking “this is the most fun I have had on the Columbia campus!”.    

Student in green shirt stands over two students playing a giant Connect Four game on the grass

After a summer of hard work, CUPP participants had the chance to showcase their research in a symposium on July 25th. Two hundred people attended the session, which featured 54 posters in disciplines ranging from statistics and mathematics to biomedical science, engineering, political science, sociology, and chemistry. Admissions representatives from twenty Columbia programs and schools were there to meet CUPP participants and share opportunities to continue their studies at Columbia University.

Students standing in small groups talking in front of posters displayed in cubicles