New AAP students are invited to participate in this special orientation program, which is scheduled nine days before the general New Student Orientation. The Connect Program jump-starts the college experience for AAP students with academic and professional development workshops, team building activities, and cultural and social events. There is no charge for the Connect Program. AAP students are permitted to move into the Residence Halls early so that they can participate.

The 2018 Connect Program starts Monday, August 13, and ends Wednesday, August 22, leading directly into New Student Orientation programming.

Meet the Peer Mentors
Check out the AAP Facebook Page for photos

Please note: This schedule is subject to change.
Students who accept the invitation to the AAP and register for CONNECT must attend all workshops and events.

Monday August 13
10:00-2:00 Check-in & Move-in, Gershman Hall Lobby
2:00-3:00 AAP Parent/Family Q&A, Advising Center, Gershman 207
3:00-3:30 Commuter Check-in, Gershman Hall Lobby
3:30 Campus Walk*
6:30-8:00 Welcome Dinner, Gershman Chapel
8:00-10:30 Movie Night & Discussion,* Connelly Auditorium
Tuesday August 14
8:00-8:45 Grab & Go Breakfast, Mangia
9:00 Depart for Adventure Network
10:00-4:00 Team Building and Low/High Ropes Course
5:00 Dinner
Wednesday August 15
9:00-11:00 Strategic Writing & Reading I
11:30-12:15 Lunch
12:30-1:30 Journal Lecture
1:45-3:45 Online Writing Placement Test for students who haven’t taken it
Alternative Session for students who’ve completed test
5:00 Dinner
7:00 Coffee House Night*
Thursday August 16
9:00-11:00 Strategic Writing & Reading II
11:30-12:15 Lunch
12:30-1:45 Art Studio/Bucket Drumming
2:00-3:15 Bucket Drumming/Art Studio
3:30-4:30 Managing Your Time/Professional Practices
5:00 Dinner
7:00 Spruce St. Harbor Park Strolling and Roller Skating*
Friday August 17
9:00-10:15 Singing+Songwriting/Theater Play
10:30-11:45 Theater Play/Singing+Songwriting
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:00 Reading Assessment
3:15-4:30 Managing Your Time/Professional Practices
5:00 Dinner
7:00 Walnut Street Walk and Shop and Skyview*
Saturday August 18
9:00-9:45 Grab & Go Breakfast, Mangia
10:00 Depart for NYC Trip & Broadway Show
12:00-1:30 Free Time
2:00 Broadway Show
5:00 Return to Philly
7:30 Pizza Dinner*
Sunday August 19
11:00 Trip to Philadelphia Museum of Art
1:00 Lunch in the Museum
3:00 Depart Museum
5:00 Dinner, Terra Hall
Monday August 20
9:00-11:00 Strategic Writing & Reading III
11:30-12:15 Lunch
12:30-1:30 Work on Final Presentations
2:30-4:30 Global Dance
5:30-6:30 Dinner Mixer, Terra Dining Hall
7:00 Bowling, Ice Cream and Park, or Movies*
Tuesday August 21
9:30-11:00 Making It at UArts
11:30-12:30 Lunch
1:00-3:30 My UArts Philly Presentations
4:00-4:30 Group Photo
6:00-9:00 Picnic Dinner & Karaoke Dance Party
Wednesday August 22
9:00-10:00 AAP Connect students check in at New Student Orientation
10:00-11:30 Celebration Breakfast & Awards

*denotes optional activity

 // Theatre Play
A series of group exercises and interactive theater exercises and games designed to acquaint and entertain incoming Academic Achievement Program students.

Workshop Presenter: Kristen Schier, BFA '00 (Acting)
Faculty, University of the Arts
Artistic Director, The Philly N Crowd
Kristen Schier is a teacher at the University of the Arts as well as a performer, instructor and Improv Producer at the Philly Improv Theater. She is also the Artistic Director of The Philly N Crowd, which performs weekly improv shows at The Actor's Center.  She has taught improv for Delaware Theater Company, Drexel University, and The Actor's Center. Kristen has a B.F.A. in Theater Arts from the University of the Arts and has been working in Philly as a professional actor, improviser and teacher for several years. As an actor she has worked with Commonwealth Classic Theater Company, Shakespeare in Clark Park, and Ego Po. She has appeared in many productions including the originally created Art of War, which received a Barrymore Nomination for Outstanding Ensemble. Kristen has also studied clowning intensively with Virginia Scott and Giovanni Fusetti. She has studied improv at The Second City, the Annoyance Theater in Chicago and the Magnet Theater in NYC.


// Singing/Songwriting 
Workshop Presenter: Nicole Tranquillo


// Bucket Drumming
Workshop Presenter: Jason Chuong
Jay Chuong is a senior lecturer for the MAT program at the University of the Arts. He teaches the graduate-level course entitled “Alternative Ensembles,” which discusses inner-city education, lesson planning and using an alternative ensemble as tool to achieve educational goals.
Jay is also a full-time Class Instrumental (itinerant) Music Teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. He provides small group instrumental music lessons in multiple schools throughout the week and has taught in over 18 different Philadelphia public schools in the past three years. He teaches grades 3-12 in some of the most challenging neighborhoods in Philadelphia with a $100 budget. He is actively involved with advocating for quality Arts Education programs in the Philadelphia public schools. His ingenuity and advocacy efforts have been recognized by President Barack Obama, Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Association for Music Education, and the School District of Philadelphia.
Jay also performs professionally as a jazz drummer in the Philadelphia area. He has performed in many theaters, clubs, festivals, and he frequently performs with the three-time Grammy nominated Brazilian-Jazz band Minas. Jay is a member of the Pennsylvania Music Education Association (PMEA) and the National Association for Music Education (NAfME). He holds a Pennsylvania Instructional II Teaching Certificate in Music K-12. He is a graduate of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia with an MAT in Music Education degree and a BM in Jazz Drum Set Performance degree.In November 2011, the U.S. Department of Education created a short film pertaining to Jason Chuong’s work.


// Art Studio
Workshop Presenter: Veronica Cianfrano
Veronica Cianfrano is a multimedia artist who has been examining "the communication break down" through photographic images and memories of her familial ties and through our current reliance on digital communication. Her work serves as a display for these vignettes of examination whether it be through memory decay, new meanings found in old footage, or the effects of the news media on our state of mind. Since receiving her MFA from the University of the Arts in 2010, Veronica Cianfrano has served as both Co-Founder and Curator for Manifesto-ish and Champions of Empty Rooms. She has also served as a Mentor and Teacher for pre-college and college level art students as well as professional artists. 


// Global Dance Celebration
The Dunya Performing Arts Company, directed by R. Jeannine Osayande, performs an expansive repertoire featuring selections of music and dance from West Africa, the Caribbean and Brazil. Their program weaves the audience on a captivating journey that includes audience participation, performance and history. As part of our celebration of life, Dunya has served as a performing arts educational resource throughout the country and internationally.


Workshop Presenter: R. Jeannine Osayande
Founder, Dunya Performing Arts Company
R. Jeannine Osayande is committed to exploring art through all aspects of life. She is a performer, educator and choreographer of West African (Old Mali Empire) and Brazilian (Samba & Bahian) dance. She is founder and director of Dunya Performing Arts Company, specializing in Artist-In-Residence programs throughout the Tri-state area, and a principle dancer with Alo’ Brasil, A highly acclaimed Philadelphia based Brazilian dance band. Ms Osayande has performed throughout the U.S. and internationally for over 23 years including; Lincoln Center OOD festival, Dance Africa / Brooklyn Academy of Music, WXPN World Cafe Live, International Exchange Program; Dakar, Senegal, and as a guest touring/teaching artist with Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad, India. In addition to her teaching at UArts, Jeanine is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Bryn Mawr College, an Artist in Residence at Swarthmore College and a certified Dale Carnegie trainer. Osayande adheres to the African Proverb, "Good dancing restores the community to wholeness."


// Digital Tools
Workshop Presenter: April Read
April Read is the Assistant Director in International Student Programs. At the University of the Arts, she enjoys administrative, teaching, and design duties. Part of her responsibilities includes organizing Culture Vultures; a program that arranges for students to see important cultural events, art exhibitions, and performances in Philadelphia and New York. She also helps to organize and promote ISP’s student exhibitions and performances. As an instructor in ESLI (English as a Second Language Institute) she has taught Reading, Writing, Film, and a creativity building course she developed called Journal Power Hour.
April received her BFA in Illustration in 2010. As a freelance artist, she specializes in promotional materials with a fondness for performance event posters.


 //Presentation Workshop
Workshop Presenter: Connie Koppe
Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of the Arts Ira Brind School of Theater Arts
Connie Koppe  is a Designated Linklater Teacher of Voice and Speech (DLT) and a Certified Practitioner of Phonetic Pillows.  She began teaching at UArts in 2001, where she instructs the freshman Voice and Speech classes at The Ira Brind School of Theater Arts and has taught several summers for the UArts Summer Institute. Connie also maintains her own private singing and speech studio. Connie has taught “American Culture Through Popular Song” for The English Language Center at Drexel University and “Presentation and Conversation Skills” and “Diction” for the English as a Second Language Institute at the University of the Arts. In addition, she has taught Creative Practices and several Collaborative Studios for the UArts University Common Curriculum. Her favorite collaborative studio has been a NEUARTS project about communication at Vare Recreation Center. Connie has sung and acted with opera companies in the tri-state area including the Opera Company of Philadelphia, in musical theater productions including two premiers at the Media Theater and with several children’s theater companies based in the Philadelphia Area. She currently performs as lead singer with Enchanté, a French Cabaret band. Off stage, Connie directs opera productions and worked for 12 years as the costume shop manager and costume designer for Temple University’s Opera Department. Connie is founder and CEO of COMMAND THE ROOM, empowering business professionals through their bodies and voices. She also leads classes called The Voice Gym Philly, a voice and body warm-up for performing artists. She is co-founder and visiting artist for The Living Bookshelf, a literacy and music program for middle school students. More information can be found at and


// Journal Lecture 
Workshop Presenter: Christian Patchell
I am a cartoonist, illustrator, designer and all around art monkey. I have lived in Philly my entire life and truly love this city. I divide my time between making art, teaching and collaborating with the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society. My art has appeared on everything from comic books to greeting cards.
Theory on art: "Monsters & Robots make everything better." I live in a tree house on the top of the highest hill with my lovely girlfriend, and we make pictures. >>

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