PUPP graduated its first cohort of scholars in 2004. Adhering to the vision of the founders, the class of 2004 made their way to some of the finest institutions in the country, including Bryn Mawr, Richmond, Rutgers, Stevens, Syracuse, The College of New Jersey, Vassar and Princeton.
In July of 2004, Dr. Jason R. Klugman became Director of PUPP, and he has since worked to expand and deepen the program.
As PUPP developed throughout its first decade, the program continued to make improvements and adjustments to meet to varied needs of program participants, who became known as “PUPP Scholars” following a strategic planning process in 2008.
PUPP scholars participate in a six-and-a-half week summer institute on Princeton’s campus for three consecutive summers, starting the summer after their sophomore year. Each summer begins with a formal Opening Ceremony in the Princeton University Chapel where new scholars and families are welcomed to the community and returning scholars renew their commitments to their academic and collegiate goals. All scholars, teaching assistants, faculty, and staff participate in an annual leadership and community-building retreat at the Princeton Blairstown Center that involves trust-building activities and physical challenges that help scholars make the shift from their school year to the PUPP summer.
Summer Institute courses include art, writing, science, literature, math and the PUPP “college prep track” – personal development, test preparation and College Admissions 101. Scholars also participate in a four-part yoga and mindfulness course each summer and visit local colleges and universities, as well as cultural institutions in Philadelphia, New York City and in Central New Jersey.
During the school year, PUPP sophomores and juniors participate in weekly after school enrichment sessions, developing their critical communication skills: reading, writing, listening, thinking and speaking. PUPP Teaching Fellows, most of whom are Princeton graduate students, teach these sessions. PUPP seniors continue their college admissions course throughout their senior year, working on applications for admission, scholarship and financial aid, and beginning to prepare for their transition to undergraduate life. PUPP juniors and seniors also participate in test preparation courses.
Scholars also attend 6-7 theatrical performances each year, including performances at local and regional theater companies, Broadway, and an annual trip to a production by Opera Philadelphia at Philadelphia’s Academy of Music. Finally, PUPP juniors and seniors attend 3-4 day, overnight fall college tour, visiting a total of close to 30 colleges and universities throughout their time in the program.
Under Klugman’s leadership, PUPP has deepened its work with students and schools in the Mercer county area and developed a national profile as a model college preparation program. In 2006, with the support of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, PUPP convened a national working forum on the challenges of preparing low-income youth for selective college success. The resulting conference white paper, “Opening Doors and Paving the Way,” has been distributed to university leaders, admissions and college preparation professionals. A manual for developing programs like PUPP – an outgrowth of the forum and ten years of work at Princeton – is also now available.
After the strategic planning process in 2008, PUPP added two additional partner schools: Lawrence High School in Lawrence, NJ and Nottingham High School in Hamilton, NJ. Also under Klugman’s direction has been the addition of a full-time PUPP counselor to the staff who works with the scholars one-on-one throughout their high school career and during the summer institutes. The first PUPP counselor, Michael Hannon, worked from 2007-2010 to provide crucial one-on-one counseling and advising services to PUPP scholars and alumni. Personalized college counseling continues after high school graduation with a “Transition to College” workshop and extensive work with alumni to make sure that PUPP scholars have a basis of guidance and support throughout their college years as well. Mr. Hannon was succeeded by QuinnShauna Felder-Snipes after the 2010 Summer Institute.
Another innovation occurred in 2012, when Princeton alumni Rob and Alicia Lovelace provided support for the PUPP Alumni Fellowship – a 30-month, entry-level program assistant position that is focused on supporting PUPP alumni in college and beyond, as well as helping manage a variety of administrative and programmatic tasks. PUPP hired its first Alumni Fellow, Jackie Hernandez, from the PUPP Class of 2008.
In 2017, PUPP moved from the Program in Teacher Preparation to the Office of the Dean of the College in Princeton in order to create synergy around broader initiatives at the University supporting college opportunity and success for first generation and low-income students. As part of that re-organization, Quinnshauna Felder-Snipes became PUPP’s Assistant Director for College Counseling and Scholar Development and PUPP hired Anna Cabrera, a graduate of PUPP’s inaugural class of 2004, to serve as its first, full-time Program Coordinator.
More information about the various components of PUPP is available on various pages of this website.
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