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Columbia Double Discovery Students Embark on Cultural Exchange
Community-based program sends 22 teenagers to University of Manchester

Double Discovery
A Double Discovery student on campus.

A group of high school students at Columbia University’s Double Discovery Center left Monday for a week-long program in Manchester, England to a world they've never seen before. The group members are 15- to 17-year-olds from predominantly low-income African American and Latino communities throughout New York City.

The program's Summer Academy of international, cultural and educational exchange with the University of Manchester is the first of a multiyear initiative made possible by a grant from the Goldman Sachs Foundation to support the mission of the University-based Center.

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“This wonderful cultural exchange will certainly be an enlightening experience for these young people and broaden their perspective on the size and scope of the world they live in,” said Olger C. Twyner III, executive director of the center. “Part of our mission at Double Discovery is to provide opportunities for young people to be able to visualize their own capacity to become leaders in the world."

Two University of Manchester students joined the Summer Academy volunteer staff as student mentors and will serve as ambassadors for the group’s trip to Manchester.  The Summer Academy gives local high school students the opportunity to live on Columbia University’s campus for six weeks and participate in academic courses, intensive tutoring, health awareness classes, standardized test preparations, cultural and recreational trips and special interest clubs. 
Double Discovery
Students select photos for the program's yearbook. From left, Jessica Ko, Parameshwari Maragatham, Imani Dunning and Yanell Andujar.

For more than four decades, Double Discovery has been a source of opportunity for low-income, first-generation college-bound teens in New York City. 

One of the original models for Upward Bound college access program, Columbia’s center works with students at risk of not completing high school or entering college – offering academic, career, college, financial aid and personal development services year-round with the goal of increasing the rate of high school graduation, college entrance and college completion. Of those who participate in the center’s programs, 96 percent graduate from high school and 92 percent go on to graduate from college. 

Double Discovery
From left, Youna Lee, Roxanne
Campbell, Awlad Bhuiyan, Saachel Parker, Ivan Leroux,
Sajed Chowdhury, Nile Daniels, Parameshwari Maragatham,
Dong Yi Xia and Jamel Brinkley, a Goldman Sachs Coordinator.

The project was among the first of its kind in the nation and was founded in 1965 by a group of Columbia undergraduates, led by Roger Lehecka (CC ’67) and Professor of History James P. Shenton. Over the past four decades, more than 30,000 New York City students have benefited from the center.

The center is home to two federally funded programs: Upward Bound, which was established in 1965, and Talent Search, instituted in 1977. Upward Bound offers more than 165 high school students year-round academic, career, college and counseling services, as well as a six-week summer residential academic program on campus.

– Written by Victoria Benitez. Photographs by Eileen Barroso.

Published: Aug. 14, 2007
Last modified: Aug 14, 2007