By Nandeeta Bala ’22
In the Summer of 2020, Nandeeta collaborated with Candice Lowe Swift and Henry Molina to develop a Summer STEPP program within Summer Immersion, where faculty teaching two-day courses or hosting office hours opted to partner with student interns. There were a total of 8 pairs. Nandeeta, Jens Astrup, Ananya Suresh, and Milo Mitchell, all participants in the STEPP Spring 2021 Pilot, co-created a short orientation for student interns where they shared their experiences and tips and answered questions. As the regular student partner meetings in STEPP could not be simulated, Nandeeta created a group chat for students to check-in about their experiences.
As faculty continued to experiment with remote technologies, they found it very helpful to have a student support them in brainstorming ideas for their session, co-facilitating, responding to incoming first-year questions, and helping man the Zoom chat. Given the short duration of the program and experimental model of Summer STEPP, it was important for faculty and their student partners to be flexible and take a more hands-on approach. For future iterations of Summer STEPP, participants suggested increasing structure of Summer STEPP and explicitly sharing information and expectations.