Champlain's Imagine College Program Encourages Students to Consider the Possibilities

BURLINGTON, Vt. - Champlain College's pre-college and college success initiative, Imagine College, is hosting 25 students from Vermont, Massachusetts and New York this week. The six-day summer immersion program is designed to help create college access for underserved populations, help them continue to graduation and prepare them for a life of career and personal success where they can serve as agents of positive change in our community.

"We believe students will benefit from the additional support to develop and strengthen their vision for attending college and help them navigate the often complicated college-entry process," said Ame Lambert, Imagine College program facilitator and chief diversity office in Champlain's Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI).

The program, now in its second year, is offered at no cost to all participants thanks to funding from the Hendrickson Family Foundation, Jim and Andrea Crook, and Elizabeth Steele. It is also supported through the Champlain College Advancement and Admission offices, and the Champlain Conference and Events Center.

"Champlain College has a long commitment to access and success, driven by President David Finney. This initiative is one more way Champlain is fulfilling its mandate/commitment to be 'in and of Vermont,'" Lambert noted.

"We focus on low-income students, students of color, New Americans and first-generation college students. Research has shown that these populations benefit greatly from different or extra assistance in navigating the college process and succeeding in college. On average, members of these groups tend to be less academically prepared for college.

Imagine College is an outreach program created to meet goals of the Champlain's 2020 Diversity and Inclusion. About a third of the students are from Vermont, while others are from New York and Boston.

Students at Imagine College 2013Students will explore various areas of study including game programming, art and animation, health sciences, digital forensics, and writing, instructed by Champlain College faculty. The students will also explore career options, the college admissions process and learn about other programs on campus. Plans also include making a movie about their experiences, and etiquette dinner and a presentation on using social media.

The program exposes students to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields in a fun and engaging way and helps them explore careers and build critical social and emotional competencies. Students leave seeing themselves as college students and committed to the college-access process. They receive periodic check-ins from their leaders as they continue their journey toward college.

Imagine College also includes team-building activities for students such as visiting downtown Burlington and North Beach, identity and leadership development and a talent show. The participants will also have several opportunities to interact with a group of high school students visiting from Shanghai, China visiting Champlain College and New England through the Vermont International Academy summer camp.

The Champlain College Imagine College program wraps up with a commencement dinner on July 11.

"We hope the seven-day program will eventually become a six-week bridge program. Our goal is to attract 30 students in underserved populations from Burlington and Winooski high schools, and from community partners, after-school programs and college-preparatory organizations," Lambert added.

About the Champlain College Office of Diversity and Inclusion:The Office of Diversity and Inclusion helps Champlain's increasingly diverse community to engage in educational, social and inclusive practices with the goal of helping all members of the community to have a positive experience and to foster successful outcomes. Learn more about the program and diversity initiatives at Champlain College at or contact Lambert at or (802) 860-2784.

Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 90 residential undergraduate and online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 384 Colleges: 2019 Edition. For the fourth year in a row, Champlain was named a "Most Innovative School" in the North by U.S. News & World Report's 2019 "America's Best Colleges,” and a “Best Value School” and is ranked in the top 100 “Regional Universities of the North” and in the top 25 for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Champlain is also featured in the Fiske Guide to Colleges for 2019 as one of the "best and most interesting schools" in the United States, Canada and Great Britain and is a 2019 College of Distinction. For more information, visit