About PUPP

Students are selected to apply to become a PUPP Scholar during the spring of their freshmen year of high school. PUPP currently partners directly with five high schools in the Mercer County, NJ region: Ewing High School, Lawrence High School, Nottingham High School (Hamilton, NJ), Princeton High School and Trenton Central High School. Students must attend one of our partner schools in order to be eligible for consideration.

PUPP nurtures the educational and personal development of students from socioeconomic groups currently under-represented in major universities. Selection is prioritized for those who would be among the first generation in their family to attend a traditional, four-year college and those from families making less than $55,000 per year.  Following a competitive application process, a selection committee from the Princeton University Preparatory Program makes the final selection of each cohort of PUPP Scholars.

Once selected, PUPP Scholars participate throughout the remainder of their high school career and into their collegiate years. Scholars complete three, intensive six-and-a-half week summer institutes at Princeton University and take part in school-year programming, including weekly after school academic enrichment sessions and a series of cultural excursions. PUPP works directly with students and their parents during their senior year of high school to provide guidance and support during the college admissions and financial aid process. PUPP alumni receive support with their transition to college and guidance throughout their collegiate career and beyond.


The Princeton University Preparatory Program is a highly engaged, holistic college preparation and success program that fosters development of students who have been historically marginalized. Our multi-year, tuition-free program prepares participants for admission to and success within selective colleges and universities, and beyond.

PUPP alumni hold up signs listing colleges alumni have gone on to attend including Amherst, Brown, Bryn Mawr and The College of New Jersey

Through our work, we develop and nurture:

  • Passion for learning and a commitment to academic pursuits;
  • Individual perspectives through critical and creative thinking, readings, discussions, personal interactions, extra-curricular and life experiences;
  • A breadth and depth of academic performances in writing, literature, social and natural sciences, mathematics and cultural arts;
  • Leadership skills, self-esteem, intellectual courage, self-reliance, personal responsibility, wellness, and constructive relationship
  • Personal responsibility for the PUPP community both within the program and among its constituents and partners; and Cross-cultural competence and understanding.

In the pursuit of this Mission, we are committed to providing an environment and program that will:

  • Enhance the talents, strengths and interests that each student brings to the program;
  • Establish and maintain rigorous academic, personal, and social principles;
  • Forge mutually supportive partnerships among staff, students and their families;
  • Engage students in a broad range of academic and cultural experiences;
  • Collaborate with partner schools, community agencies, university personnel, and college access networks; and
  • Provide students and their families with the information, resources, and guidance they need to be successful in their highest attainable and most compatible choices for post-secondary education and beyond.


In the summer of 2000, Miguel Centeno, Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and Dr. John Webb, Director of Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation began discussions with university faculty and educators from three Central New Jersey school districts. Their goal was to create an intensive program to prepare high school students who are traditionally underrepresented at selective institutions due to socioeconomic status to apply to and succeed within highly selective colleges and universities. The result of these discussions was the Princeton University Preparatory Program.

With support from the University and individual donors, PUPP welcomed its first class of rising high school sophomores from three local schools in 2001: Ewing High School, Princeton High School, and Trenton Central High School. Dr. Richard Carter, served as PUPP’s first Principal from 2001 to 2004 and Torey Wilson joined the PUPP team in 2002, serving as Assistant Principal and then Associate Director from 2002 to 2017. Together, Carter and Wilson built on the vision of Centeno and Webb to set standards for the first few Summer Institutes and developed academic enrichment sessions with graduate students from Princeton University’s English Department.

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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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professional photo of PUPP Director

Jason R. Klugman



Dr. Klugman came to Princeton in 2004 to lead PUPP and served as a Lecturer and Program Associate in Princeton’s Program in Teacher Preparation from 2004 to 2017. He occasionally teaches in Princeton’s Department of Anthropology and he serves as an advisor to programs in Princeton’s Pace Center for Civic Engagement as well as an Academic-Athletic Fellow for the Princeton’s Men’s and Women’s Varsity Swimming and Diving Teams. He has presented at a range of professional and academic conferences about college access and success, urban education and teacher preparation. He is the recipient of the 2015 John B. Muir Editor’s Award from the National Association of College Admission Counseling for outstanding contribution to the Journal of College Admission. From 2001-2004, Jason was a high school history teacher at West Philadelphia High School and a leader in that school’s college and career guidance team. Jason earned his doctorate in Education, Culture and Society from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education where he also earned his M.A. in Secondary Education. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University.

Dawn M. Wilson

Associate Director for College Counseling and Scholar Development


Dawn M. Wilson brings over ten years of college access and success experience to her role as Associate Director of PUPP.  Prior to joining PUPP, Dawn served as the inaugural Director of College Success for Cooperman College Scholars (CCS), where she supported the scholars on all points related to persistence and retention.  Born and raised in New Jersey, Dawn is a proud product of the New Jersey public school system, having been educated there from elementary through graduate school. Dawn earned her Master’s in Counseling from The College of New Jersey and is currently working towards her license as a Marriage and Family Therapist.   As a first generation graduate herself, Dawn embodies her personal ethos: “be who you needed when you were younger.” This sentiment fuels her work with students allowing her to meet students where they are and aid in their “becoming”.

Tieisha Tift

Assistant Director, College Preparation Initiatives


Tieisha is happy to be back home — in New Jersey, in the field of college access, and with PUPP — after a brief stint on the west coast. Before joining the PUPP staff, Tieisha was an Assistant Dean of Admissions and a member of the Diversity Team at Pomona College in California. She also worked as a College Adviser at E-Cubed Academy in Providence, RI through the Brown University College Advising Corps and AmeriCorps. Tieisha is Trenton native and a graduate of the PUPP Cohort of 2009 and was the valedictorian of her Trenton Central High School graduating class. A Gates Millennium Scholar, Tieisha earned her B.A. in Urban Studies with a specialization in Education from Columbia University, where she was also a Kluge Scholar.

Anna R. Cabrera, M.A.

Assistant Director for Family Engagement, College Preparation Initiatives


Anna R. Cabrera serves as the Assistant Director for Family Engagement within the College Preparation Initiatives area of the Emma Bloomberg Center for Access and Opportunity.  For PUPP her role is to empower, equip and encourage the talented and hard-working PUPP scholars and support their families through the journey to college and beyond.  . A native Spanish speaker, Anna provides translation and first-language support to many PUPP families. A proud Trenton Central High School graduate, Anna is a member of the inaugural cohort of PUPP Scholars (the Class of 2004). She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from The College of New Jersey, while also running her own small business, a venture that she nurtured for over a decade. Anna also holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership with a concentration in higher education from Rider University. Outside of Princeton, Anna is deeply invested in the personal and academic development of her two children, and she enjoys traveling with her husband, cuddling with her dogs, and reading good novels on her hammock.

Miracle Santiago

Alumni Associate


Miracle Santiago from the PUPP Class of 2018 (Trenton Central High School) is no stranger to the PUPP community and is ecstatic to be back. Before joining the PUPP team, Miracle attended the University of Richmond where she earned her B.A. in Sociology. Throughout her undergraduate experience, Miracle conducted research and completed coursework exploring different areas of interest including race, class, and education. With this research, she curated resources that were used to create workshops for graduate students with hopes of initiating conversations regarding stereotype threat and racial microaggressions in higher education. In addition to spending her summers conducting research, she worked with the PUPP community as a Teaching Assistant for PUPP’s Class of 2023 during the 2020 PUPP Summer Institute. As the Alumni Associate, Miracle looks forward to supporting PUPP Scholars and College Alumni on their journeys to and through the world of higher education.


Princeton University extends its gratitude to all of the donors who have generously supported various components of the Princeton University Preparatory Program since its inception in 2001. PUPP acknowledges the generosity of the following donors:
  • Arun Alagappan ‘81
  • William D. Birch Jr. ‘64
  • Trent and Susan Carmichael in honor of Orin Lehman ‘42
  • Ann Pao Chen ’89
  • Evalyn Lee ‘83
  • Lillian P. and Jon B. Lovelace ’50 P84
  • Alicia C. Mińana de Lovelace ’84 and Robert W. Lovelace ’84
  • Anahita Naficy Lovelace ’75 P08 and James B. Lovelace P08
  • Ellen K. Pao ’91
  • Bob Peck ’88
  • Trish Perlmutter ‘85 P15 P17 and Tom Perlmutter ’85 P15 P17
  • Mary Pao Seideman ’93
  • Wade Rakes II ’02
  • William C. Taylor ’81
  • Armstrong Family Foundation
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
  • Penguin Random House
  • The Goldman Sachs Foundation
  • The Hope and Norman Hope Foundation
  • The Independent College Fund of New Jersey
  • The JL Foundation
  • The Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
  • The Petrucci Family Foundation
  • The Princeton Review
  • Roger S. Firestone Family Foundation
  • The Scheide Fund
  • Verizon Foundation
  • Class of 1981
  • Class of 1985