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Penn State Smeal’s BOSS program celebrates 10 years

August 7, 2017

2017 BOSS students
The 2017 class of Smeal's Business Opportunities Summer Session shared in a 10th anniversary celebration of the program. Here the group poses for a photo, in business attire, outside of the Business Building.

In the summer of 2008, rising high school senior Diag Davenport and his father embarked on a four-hour drive from their home in Washington, DC to Penn State’s University Park campus to participate in a new program designed for prospective students. 

That program, Business Opportunities Summer Session (BOSS), facilitated by the Smeal College of Business Office of Diversity Enhancement Programs, celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer. 

BOSS offers high school students, often from underrepresented populations, who are interested in a business degree a chance to see what college life is like by spending two weeks on campus. Students take college prep and business fundamental courses taught by Penn State faculty.

Assistant Dean for Diversity Enhancement Programs Jamie Campbell explains how BOSS helps ensure diverse students can find a home at Penn State and in the Smeal College of Business.

For Davenport, BOSS provided motivation and exposure he may not have received otherwise. 

“I left Penn State fully energized to study business and I was certain that Smeal was the right place for me to do so,” he said. “I saw that BOSS was the bridge between my ambition to succeed and the opportunity to make it happen.” 

Davenport’s is just one of dozens of success stories BOSS has helped write. Of the nearly 200 students who have attended since 2008, more than 60 percent have applied to Penn State. Ninety-one percent have been accepted, which is 40 percent higher than the average Penn State University Park acceptance rate. 

A majority of those were offered enrollment at University Park, but some have accepted offers to enroll at other Penn State campuses, such as Altoona, Abington, Berks, Erie, Hazleton, Schuylkill, and New Kensington.

Ashley Au, who attended BOSS in 2015, came back this year as a program assistant. Not only did she bring prior BOSS knowledge, she is “currently a Smeal student with business aspirations that began at BOSS.”

Au witnessed the power of the BOSS experience through the lens of a program assistant. 

“‘I’ve been sold. Penn State. Smeal. This is where I want to be.’ That quote came from one of my 23 campers, spoken to me on her last day. Her words resonated with me because they mirrored the same emotions and enthusiasm I had felt, just two years prior,” Au said. 

“In 2015, I attended BOSS. Like every high school student, I was worried about the pressures of figuring out my future. Where do I apply to college? What major do I pick? Are my SATs good enough? The list went on and on. Before I attended BOSS, I would have never dreamed that all of those questions would be answered for me.”

About Diversity at Smeal
The Smeal College of Business is committed to encouraging a sense of community that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes diversity among all of its members. Through a number of services and opportunities, the college works with incoming, current, and international students to enrich the academic experience and to connect them with our many corporate partners. For more information on diversity enhancement efforts at Smeal, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/diversity/. 

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