Hello everyone! My name is Asmara Wheeler and I am a first year Pathways to Employment AmeriCorps VISTA serving at Atlantic Impact in Detroit, MI. Atlantic Impact is a leader in city-centered field trips and globally immersive travel for students. We design experiential trips that span neighborhood boundaries, deepen students’ networks, and spark educational curiosity. We believe travel can be a transformative means of igniting a student’s academic achievement and economic mobility. My role at Atlantic Impact is to coordinate college/career-related field trips and offer programming around college access to our partnering schools.
As a former College Advisor at Detroit Public School Community District, I know firsthand how difficult it is to fund a trip. With schools constantly making cuts, it was hard to expose my students to college campuses, and even when we were able to take students on a college trip it was only your typical college tour and presentation. With Atlantic Impact, I have helped build and maintain relationships with some of Michigan’s most notable schools such as the University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, and so many more. We incorporate hands-on activities, Greek Life, student panels, professor/faculty panels, and so much more into our college trips. Our goal for these trips is for students to feel like they belong.
Aside from traditional college/universities trips, we have also taken a real interest in the skilled trades field. We noticed that there are a huge number of high school students who are interested in the skilled trades but have little access to more information. Atlantic Impact has recently partnered with Detroit Training Center and secured a grant that will allow us to train and certify 125 Detroit high school students in OSHA (Occupational Safety Health Administration) 10. With the grant I will also be able to coordinate trips where students can explore the different types of skilled trades and bring in counselors and colleges advisors to learn more to bring back to their schools.
People may think that students not being able to attend meaningful field trip throughout school is not a big deal but they often don't realize that schools that make educational trips part of their academic offerings produce students with better grades, higher graduation rates from high school and college, and greater income.