The Office of Special Programs and Part-Time Studies has always occupied a position outside the minds of most undergraduates. In an effort to expand their scope and programming, the Special Programs Office will be offering programs geared at bringing together the university community with Rochester.

The new direction for the office comes with the appointment of a new director, Gayle Jagel.

“I’m new in the position of Director of Special Programs, and the office is expanding in some existing programs under our charter and adding new initiatives,” Jagel said.

One of the first programs to incorporate undergraduates will be presentation by Jennifer Kushell, entitled “Secrets of the Young & Successful: How to Get Everything You Want Without Waiting a Lifetime.” Sponsored by the Special Programs Office in association with the United Way of Greater Rochester and Greater Rochester Enterprise, the program will held on Oct. 23 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. in Wilson Commons.

“Jennifer Kushell is an exciting and dynamic speaker, with an extremely relevant message for entrepreneurs of all ages,” Jagel said.”Jennifer Kushell is 29 years old and this is the second book she’s written. She works with young people all over the world and helps them figure out the steps they need to take to achieve unparalleled success.”

Jagel hopes that these types of programs will encourage entrepreneurship among UR’s undergraduate population and help them to connect with opportunities in Rochester.

“We are building events like Young and Successful that really speak to both the undergraduate program and the community,” Jagel said. “We are inviting all the undergrads and young professionals from Rochester. For our student population to mix and mingle with the business community and other young people in our community involved in government, medicine, public policy, law and education is a wonderful opportunity.”

Undergraduate programs will also be offered in less traditional areas, such as public speaking, presentation skills and networking.

“We also will start interacting with undergrads,” Jagel said. “We are developing programs for undergrads that concentrate on soft skill training.”

The Special Programs Office is also planning on expanding their entrepreneurial programs for younger students. “We are also putting together a young entrepeunereal program for high school and middle school students, where there would be an opportunity for undergraduates to participate,” Jagel said. “We are looking at connecting students with younger students.”

One youth program is Rochester Scholars, which gives high school students the chance to take courses from UR faculty on campus during the summer. The program not only benefits youth, but offers the faculty a chance to interact with a different age group of students.

“The faculty have a chance to propose classes for these youth programs,” Jagel said.

“I certainly appreciate the opportunity to be involved in [the Rochester Scholars program],” Professor of Chemical Engineering Ben Ebenhack said. “Besides the fun of working with young people in that kind of way, the very lay perspective is very useful to me for sharpening my perceptions and to move me out of my disciplinary perspective.”

The program currently is non-residential, and therefore only draws from a local pool. However, in an effort to expand, a residential program will be offered this summer.

“We feel strongly that our residential program will encourage students outside of the Rochester area to test out our college,” Jagel said.

UR also gets to preview the students who participate.

Jagel hopes the office can further expand the connections between UR students and other groups her office serves, such as adults and senior citizens as the year goes on. “I can imagine a wonderful intergenerational program between senior citizens in our community and undergraduates,” Jagel said.

Miller can be reached at

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