Photos of past STEP students together outdoors

Summer Transition Enrichment Program (STEP)

STEP society

STEP (Summer Transition Enrichment Program) is an invite-only program at American University that provides incoming first-year students with the tools and resources they need for a head start as an Eagle. The primary goal of STEP is to help students succeed in the classroom. This intensive seven-week residential program is built to support the transition to college. It provides students with an academic and social edge, while familiarizing them with Washington D.C. and AU' s campus resources. The program's primary focus is academic success; however, we also encourage students to form lasting friendships through regular social and extracurricular activities.

Goals of STEP

At CDI, our goal is to support students in the STEP program and unify the various resources — both programs and people — available to help students succeed once they are on campus. The key is making sure those resources are connected with each other to support students holistically. When we see students struggling academically, challenged with finding an internship or summer opportunity, or looking for ways to engage on campus, we are able to connect the dots and address students' needs.

STEP Impact

For over 20 years, STEP has built a sterling record of student success. STEP has taken many forms over the years, but has a consistent record of attracting students who earn national merit awards, including the BOREN Scholarship, White House Internships, Hispanic Congressional Caucus Fellowship, Rangel Summer Internships, and many other AU awards and honors.

STEP participants also complete their education at very high rates. The program lasts for seven weeks during the summer; however, our commitment to STEP students lasts for their entire career at American University.

STEP 2023 Water taxi

A recent STEP cohort had the opportunity to participate in Explore DC, sponsored by AU's Center for Community Engagement and Service. Explore DC gives students a chance to acclimate to DC, explore the burning issues faced by community members, and expose themselves to some of the cultural and historical resources that exist. For instance, STEP students have volunteered at A Wider Circle, Martha's Table, and the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC). 

Meet the STEP team

Get to know the staff that will be working with you this summer!

Stephon J. Bradberry Assistant Director: Student Success, Transition & Retention

Stephon is a beloved believer, yogi, writer, bibliophile. A product of Niagara Falls, New York and Fort Worth, Texas, his work focuses on creating sustainable ecosystems that empower individuals and communities to live well. Stephon managed the 2021 Summer Transition Enrichment Program (STEP) and served as a Graduate assistant for Student Support. Stephon is a former policy staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives where he worked on a broad Veterans’ health portfolio. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of North Texas and a Master of Arts in Political Communication from American University. Stephon is also a yoga teacher and proud poodle dad. 

Quintenilla Merriweather Associate Director for Student Equity, Access, & Retention

Quin serves as the Associate Director for Student Equity, Access, and Retention as part of the Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI). Prior to joining AU, she worked in the field of Housing and Residential Life for ten years in a variety of roles and capacities. Working at a mixture of land-grant, religious affiliated, ivy-league, state systems, and private institutions Quin created spaces for equitable practices and resources that carved out a sense of belonging and connection for the students that she worked with and alongside. A huge emphasis of work for Quin was through equitable practices within Student Conduct and Community Standards, Title IX support, resources, and practices, Facilities Management to help troubleshoot after hours concerns, and establishing spaces of support for students traversing mental physical health concerns, to name a few.

STEP flip

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