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STELLAR and Gateway Programs Prepare Incoming Students for Success

Students receiving awards at a banquet
Sarah Freske ’18
Publication date: 
September 19, 2017

As part of its dedication to inclusion, the University of Minnesota, Morris has created an accessible learning environment for all students. This effort involves programs like STELLAR and Gateway, which help international students and those from traditionally underrepresented groups prepare for the transition to college.

The Summer Transition for English Language and Liberal Arts Readiness (STELLAR) Program focuses on acclimating international students to an American classroom environment and assists in English language readiness. Leslie Lindberg, coordinator of STELLAR, notes the importance of the program in allowing students to step outside of their comfort zones.

"They're here to learn, and we want them to take risks," Lindberg says. "We provide support and a safe place for them to put themselves out there."

STELLAR attracts students like Bella Yang '21, China, who was chosen as one of the speakers for STELLAR's closing ceremony this year. Yang felt that, in addition to improving her English skills, STELLAR helped introduce her to American campus culture.

"I am more confident than when I first came here," Yang says. "After STELLAR I think I'm gradually adapting to the new environment and people here."

Student on a ropes course

Similarly, the Gateway Program draws American students who would benefit from a transitional experience before starting their first semesters at Morris. The program helps students by ensuring their writing and mathematics skills are ready for college coursework.

"The Gateway Program provides an opportunity to become acclimated to campus and the community that otherwise might not be available to students," says Mohammed Farah, former coordinator of Gateway. "It's unique in its cohort and team-building, and it creates a community among its students that I haven't seen anywhere else."

Janie Dam '21, Chicago, Illinois, participated in Gateway this summer, and felt the program offered her a valuable opportunity to become accustomed to Morris.

"The program accommodates all students, and it gives us a college experience before we even start the fall semester," says Dam. "It helped me navigate and get to know the school a little bit more."

STELLAR and Gateway are coordinated by the Office of Equity, Diversity and Intercultural Programs. For more information visit