High school students get a glimpse of Purdue life and a lesson in entrepreneurship during Summer College

The 2023 Fleischer Scholars cohort poses for a picture

Pictured:  The 2023 Fleischer Scholars cohort poses for a picture at the end of their weeklong program.

This past July, 17 high school students had the opportunity to live on Purdue’s campus for a week, take classes with faculty members and become familiar with college life. But it wasn’t just a test run of their assured college careers.

The Fleischer Scholars program was started by Morton Fleischer — a successful financier, entrepreneur and real estate investor who got his start as a dime store janitor — to help economically disadvantaged students graduate from college and invest their talent back into the community.

This year’s inaugural Purdue cohort included mostly Indiana 21st Century Scholars and students from the Purdue Polytechnic High School system. For many, this was their first time being exposed to a university campus and the format of college courses.

Taylor Holiday presents her business pitch

Taylor Holiday presents her business pitch "Double Sided," a more inclusive undergarment brand.

“As a first-generation college student, it was a great opportunity,” shares Taylor Holiday, a student from Mississinewa High School who participated in this year’s program. “I wanted to get the proper college experience before I actually go. This way I’m aware of how everything works.”

It was also many students’ first experience of true independence.

“I learned a lot about myself,” shares Nadiia Wells, a Ukrainian refugee currently studying at Caledonia High School in Michigan. “Fleischer Scholars taught me that I can be independent and encouraged me to focus on my work and study hard.”

A student raises their hand during a class discussion.

A student raises their hand during a class discussion.

Throughout the program, Wells and her peers learned how to think, learn, write, solve problems, adapt and get out of their comfort zones. They also explored career paths in business, financial planning and entrepreneurship through the leadership of Purdue staff and faculty.

“During Fleischer Scholars, I learned about the different degrees offered at Purdue’s Daniels School of Business and what support they offer for women in those programs,” recalls Emonii Hamilton, a participating student from Purdue Polytechnic High School in South Bend. “I got to meet other high school students interested in Purdue, talk to current college students and make connections with teachers I may take classes with in the future.”

After completing the program, Holiday, Wells, Hamilton and the other students walked away with one college credit and a free laptop, all of which was made possible by the generosity of Morton and Donna Fleischer.

To learn more about the program and next summer’s enrollment, please visit the Purdue College for High School Students website.

headshot of communication specialist Emily Jones

Emily R. Jones

Communication Specialist for Student Success Programs, jone1594@purdue.edu 

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