UNH Manchester celebrates newest class of EXCELL students

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Nearly two dozen students were honored on Wednesday at UNH Manchester. (credit – Andrew Sylvia)

MANCHESTER, NH — Families, teachers and local dignitaries gathered at the University of New Hampshire’s Manchester Campus on Wednesday morning to celebrate this year’s STEM EXCELL graduation ceremony.

Now in its 16th year, the program (Educational Excellence for English Language Learners) helps students learning English as a second language develop skills in science and math.

Approximately 25 middle school and high school students attended this year’s program during the month of July, where they studied STEM topics while learning English at the same time.

For many of the students, the program offers a glimpse into new things like 3D Printing or the intricacies of the research process.

“Every year is so different, because the students make the personality of the program,” said UNH Manchester STEM Discover Lab Coordinator Emily Kerr. “I think it helps some of these students feel confident in their abilities. I’ve heard some of these students say that they hated science before coming here, but afterwards they loved science.”

One of those students is Amani Idris, who will be starting her junior year at Manchester West High School this fall.

An immigrant from Sudan, this July marked her third year in the EXCELL program. Not only has the program helped fine-tune her English-speaking skills, but it’s also given her an appreciation for learning.

“I love the teachers here and the program. Every year there is something new, “said Idris. “At first, I didn’t like science and math, but now I love it. The teachers here, they give it to us in a different way that helps us appreciate the object we are talking about.”

The program is sponsored by Bank of America, which sees it not only as a noble pursuit that helps the community, but also a wise investment to help produce future generations of talented engineers and scientists who may one day work near the classrooms in the Millyard’s various high-tech companies.

“Our office on Elm Street overlooks the Millyard we see the activity and success and growth that’s happening down here in the Millyard,” “There a lot of jobs down here at the Millyard and (the students) are the future of those jobs. The earlier (students) get STEM skills, the better it is for the economy.”

More information on EXCELL and other UNH Manchester STEM programs are available on the UNH Manchester website.