DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University hosted its Wanda Everage Academic Success Symposium this week to help students who are underrepresented on college campuses.

For the symposium’s fifth year around 35 high school students who will be entering college were selected to attend. Students selected are those who have been traditionally underrepresented on campuses like students of color and first generation students.

The symposium aims to provide students with a pathway to college through conversations and projects dealing with time management, decision making, study skills, academic and career planning, and more.

Ryan Wise, School of Education Dean at Drake University, said it’s not just about learning skills to help students be successful.

“It’s also about helping these students feel comfortable on a college campus,” Wise said.

To help the students navigate the course designed by Drake professors, fellow college students were the ones teaching the program.

“To be able to see peers who have done this and have been in their seats and have been successful is a really powerful learning opportunity,” Wise said.

All week long student participants worked on projects about communication skills, time-management, and more to then present them to their peers and Wanda Everage herself Friday morning.

Wanda Everage, the person the symposium is named after, retired in 2012 as Drake’s Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Academic Excellence. Everage previously worked for Des Moines Public Schools as a middle school teacher, central office administrator, and vice principal at Roosevelt High School.

Wise said they hope to continue hosting the symposium in the future.

A grant from Nationwide and funding from Drake’s School of Education made the program free for participants. The Des Moines Public School District also contributed to the symposium by creating applications for curious students to detail why they would like to join.