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FSB Passport Bootcamp shows students journey toward future success

Emily Akil asks Bootcamp students about which attributes fit them.

More than a week before classes start, Christian Cantu was already at the Farmer School, learning the ins and outs of being a first year student. “I was asked if I'd be interested in doing the Passport program, and it seemed like a program that really would help stimulate my college career, give me a head start and an insight into business,” he said.

The FSB Passport Program is a new high-touch student success program for first-year students on the Oxford campus who have been directly admitted to the Farmer School of Business. The program targets talented students who have strong academic credentials and will give them comprehensive academic support along with professional development and service learning opportunities throughout their time at Miami University.

“We can help students that might have some kind of struggle that they're coming into college with, find the right resources, ensure that they are transitioning to college well and know who they can go to for help,” academic advisor Emily Akil explained.

Kicking off the program is the Passport Bootcamp, a two-day event where Passport participants work with FSB staff and students in a variety of areas, ranging from creating and defining a personal brand to finding ways of easing the transition from high school to college.

Sophomore management and environmental sciences major Makayla Archer returned to Oxford early so she could be a chaperone and advisor for the students. “I'm here because I have a passion for these students. I think having this inspiration and this kind of influence at this time coming into college is really important.”

“Having these upperclassmen here, they're really giving us an insight firsthand into what it's like to be a student in Miami, especially a first year student. I'm a first generation college student and it's scary,” Cantu remarked.

For the inaugural year, 26 students are taking part in the program “Each year, we will bring in additional students, but we have really great tasks and things that they'll be working on throughout their four years to ensure that they're prepared for their own self-development growth and entering the workforce,” Akil said.

Participants spent the first day learning how to identify their strengths and weaknesses to determine the best ways to make use of them, touring the Farmer School and the Miami campus, taking part in a team-building challenge, and attending an etiquette dinner at the Shriver Center. The students took a trip to the Nielsen Company offices in Cincinnati on the second day, where they learned about the company and how it operates.

“I'm here to further my knowledge of business, see how to expand my knowledge and my thinking process about life, learn how I can apply all this down the road, learning some opportunities I can have, and networking,” Adrianna Al-Min said. “I’ve learned here that when you network, don't make it seem like you have like a purpose in doing it, and be someone that they want to meet. Don't shy away from people because you can miss out on an opportunity.”

In addition to the academic professional support, participants are provided with a $300 stipend each semester, if they meet the Passport Program requirements. 

“It brings together a lot of parts of the Farmer School that you need to know about, and I think it sets them up to have a really successful school year,” Archer noted.

Student looks at whiteboard while Emily Akil asks questions

Mentor Makayla Archer talks to the students about her experiences

Group photo of Passport Bootcamp participants