It continues to be incredibly satisfying to work closely with our PUPP scholars as they develop their academic potential and begin to imagine themselves as college students and graduates. Even better has been our connections with our alumni – both in person at their colleges and as we follow them into their professional careers. Through Facebook, I had the pleasure of being a casual observer as five PUPP alumni (four from the Trenton area) studied abroad last spring in Paris, Madrid, Florence, Brazil and Senegal. Three more will head abroad to Australia, China and Qatar this year.

In June of 2012, PUPP entered a new era with the hiring of our first PUPP Alumni Fellow. Jacqueline (Jackie) Hernandez, a member of the PUPP Class of 2008 (Trenton Central High School), a Gates Millennium Scholar and a graduate of Rutgers University, joined the staff for a 30-month fellowship during which she will provide critical support to our counselor and help develop and maintain alumni networks.  Jackie has already proven herself as an invaluable member of the PUPP team through her outstanding ability to connect with our current scholars and her efficient management of a data organization project that will aid program evaluation efforts. The fellowship was made possible through a generous donation to PUPP as part of Princeton’s Aspire campaign.

After twelve years, we can see just how much impact our investment in these fine young men and women has had. We’ve helped them turn dreams into reality, and to dream new dreams.

Recently, we asked current PUPP Scholars and our alumni to share some thoughts about the PUPP Experience.

Here’s a glimpse of what they had to say:

“PUPP was awesome and is the only reason I made it to a school that is perfect for me—Occidental.”
–Manna Selassie, THW Class of 2010, Occidental College ‘14

“PUPP provided me with the support system, motivation and foundation necessary to achieve success that might have otherwise been unattainable.”
–Mikkyla Mclean, TCHS Class of 2008, Rutgers University ‘12

“PUPP is the reason for the depth of my success both academically and socially. I don’t know who I would be without PUPP.”
–Sade Williams, EHS Class of 2010, Middlebury College ‘14

“PUPP saw the potential in me and took me in the past three years. PUPP has begun to make all my rough places smooth. PUPP is motivation because in PUPP not only don’t you have the option to fail, but I also don’t have the option to not be my personal best.”
–Jeneille Russell, Trenton High School West, Class of 2013

“PUPP has changed my life, mainly because it pushes me to try my hardest and give my best effort for everything. Before, I just went to school because I had to and I did not look at the big picture but now I am making more goals and focused on doing the best work that I can.”
–Akahyl Henry, Ewing High School, Class of 2014

“So far in my entire life, being a part of PUPP is my greatest accomplishment. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity.”
— Michael Calle, Lawrence High School, Class of 2013

Here is some general news about PUPP and our Class of 2013 – our current group of 24 outstanding PUPP seniors:

  • Three of our seniors were admitted “Early Action” to Princeton (one each from Trenton High School West, Nottingham High School and Princeton High School).
  • A Trenton High School West scholar received an “Early Decision” acceptance at Wesleyan University
  • Over half of the current senior class has received notices of admissions to Rutgers University (an important benchmark for every PUPP scholar)
  • Our weekly after school program continues at our 6 partner high school campuses where graduate Teaching Fellows engage our sophomores and juniors in activities to develop their critical communication skills
  • Our seniors completed both an SAT and an ACT review series this fall, resulting in the highest set of average standardized test scores for a cohort of PUPP scholars, and
  • Our juniors are well on their way with an SAT preparation course this summer, followed by a refresher this fall in preparation for the December administration of the SAT.
  •  Our 2012-2013 cultural enrichment calendar has included trips to two productions this fall:
  • In September, we traveled to the Philadelphia suburbs to see August Wilson’s Seven Guitars at People’s Light and Theater Company, and
  • In October, the scholars were treated to the Arden Theatre company’s outstanding production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal, which has overtaken Memphis and In the Heights as the new consensus PUPP favorite show!

This spring, we have an ambitious calendar of cultural events including:

  • David Lindsey-Abaire’s, TONY winning play, Good People, at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ
  • Lorraine Hansberry’s classic drama, A Raisin in the Sun, at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre
  • Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, at McCarter Theatre in Princeton
  • Our annual trip to the Opera Company of Philadelphia and the Academy of Music will feature Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and
  • We finish our enrichment calendar with Stephen Sondheim’s musical masterpiece, Into the Woods, also at McCarter.
In November 2012, we took 44 of our juniors and seniors on our annual, three-day fall college tour. Stops included:
  • University of Richmond, Georgetown, George Washington, Washington College, Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Gettysburg, Dickinson and Franklin and Marshall
  • Along the way, we connected with PUPP alumni who are current undergraduates at Richmond, GWU, Loyola, Dickinson and F&M
  • We also visited the extraordinary Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the national mall in Washington, DC.
This fall, all 22 members of the PUPP Class of 2012 entered college. They have begun their undergraduate careers at an outstanding range of schools including Brown, Bryn Mawr, Duke, GWU, the University of Pennsylvania, Rutgers University, The College of New Jersey, and Princeton.
The twelfth PUPP summer institute was held from June 21 – August 10, 2012.
  • It began with our annual 2-day leadership retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center which helps set the tone for the summer and challenges scholars to reach outside their comfort zones on the climbing wall, the zip line and in the general “wilderness” environment of the camp.
  • Our annual Opening Ceremony in the University Chapel was full of regalia with our traditional organ prelude and remarks from Princeton’s Vice President for Institutional Diversity, Michele Minter.
  • Our thematic focus for Summer 2012 was on the modern experience of Native Americans – with an author study of Sherman Alexie, a focus on Native American artistic traditions, and a tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City.
  • Our sophomores and seniors had the privilege of working with Shamelle Ingram, from the PUPP Class of 2005 in both Personal Development and College Admissions. Shamelle, a Gates Millennium Scholar and graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, served as a co-instructor for these courses, building on her experiences as a corps member of the National College Advising Corps for two years following her time at UNC.
  • Click here for two articles that highlight our work during this past summer, including a story about PUPP alumni who participated in various programs at Princeton.
If you have questions or comments about PUPP, or want to learn more about what we are doing, please continue to explore our website and click on the PowerPoint presentation highlighted on the “News” section of homepage. As always, feel free to reach out to me directly at Thank you for your interest in our program and our outstanding group of high school scholars.

Warm regards,

Jason R. Klugman, Ph.D.