Student spends three weeks at Chicago summer course

4 years ago

MAPLETON, Maine – Katelyn Amero, a senior at Presque Isle High School, spent three weeks in Chicago this summer attending a three-week Biotechnology for the 21st Century course.

Amero was selected as an Emerging Rural Leader through the UChicago Empower Initiative, which resulted in her all-expense paid trip. Last year, the University of Chicago launched UChicago Empower Initiative, an enhanced admissions process with increased financial aid and programming. 

“UChicago designed Empower based on our theory that more students of intellectual promise would seek higher education if we removed key barriers for applying to and attending college,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the college. 

“We are pleased with the initial response, which validates the importance of maintaining the work of Empower. We look forward to welcoming our incoming class of scholars in the fall and providing additional resources for more students of diverse backgrounds and geographies to achieve their academic and career aspirations,” said Boyer. 

Amero attended the component of the Emerging Rural Leaders Program that provided a full-tuition scholarship for high school juniors from rural areas to attend a three-week UChicago summer session focused on individual academic areas of excellence and navigating the college application progress. 

During the session, Amero resided in one of the dormitories, attended the college-level class daily and completed the required homework. She was selected for the Biotechnology for the 21st Century course as her education and achievements have been a prerequisite to her career of choice, which is the medical field. 

While at UChicago, she also attended a class about writing college application essays. 

“Attending UChicago’s summer session was definitely an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Amero. “I am very thankful for the Emerging Rural Leaders Program as it allowed me to experience and prepare for college life, explore the university and discover the amazing city of Chicago.” 

Amero is the daughter of Scott and Laurie Amero of Mapleton. 

The Empower program aims to reduce barriers to college for rural students and families by offering on-campus programming, mentoring and financial aid that enables more rural students to pursue higher education at UChicago and other selective colleges and universities. 

In developing the programming and cultural activities, UChicago worked with rootEd Alliance, a collaborative, philanthropic effort addressing the most challenging obstacles to college and career success for students in rural America. 

“Students’ economic resources and geographic location should not inhibit their access to higher education,” said James G. Nondorf, dean of admissions and financial aid at the University of Chicago. “Through the Emerging Rural Leaders Program, we will empower more rural students to realize college is attainable, experience it first-hand at no cost and pursue enrollment with an understanding of the application process.” 

For more information, visit: rural-leaders or