In early October, Carleton University’s Enriched Support Program (ESP) celebrated two decades of supporting students to reach their academic potential. Current and former students, staff and program supporters gathered in Fenn Lounge to mark the milestone that has helped more than 3,000 students to achieve post-secondary success.
The event featured a welcome by Prof. Tim Pychyl, followed by remarks from President Roseann O’Reilly Runte, former Carleton president Richard Van Loon and the personal stories of successful ESP graduates.
Program alumni that shared their stories included Const. Jafeth Maseruka of Ottawa Police, digital marketing executive Marco Bailetti, Vanessa Stevens, a master’s student and counsellor at Wabano’s Centre for Aboriginal Health and PhD student Daniel Crépault.
“There was so much positive feedback from students,” said Susan Burhoe, co-ordinator of programs at the Centre for Initiatives in Education which oversees the ESP. “It was amazing to hear the experiences of former students and what the program meant to them.”
ESP was launched in the mid-‘90s. The program founders wanted to ensure that there would be a path to post-secondary education for students who would not otherwise be able to access rigorous university-level studies.
The one-year transitional program supports ESP students by allowing them to enrol in up to three first-year courses while attending workshops designed the support their academic success. At the end of the year, students who have obtained the necessary grade point average are able to enrol in full undergraduate programs.
The program has grown over the decades. In 2003, an Indigenous stream of the program was introduced, the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP). ESP/AESP has also developed leadership opportunities and hires successful graduates as peer mentors.
ESP/AESP will continue to build on its long track record of excellence as it looks to further expand outreach efforts to high schools in order to encourage post-secondary enrolment.