Photo of Beloit Wis., second graders in the Little Scholars Program visiting their UW-Whitewater college student pen pals. UW-Whitewater finance student Miguel Miranda, right, lets children try his bluetooth earbuds at lunch. A valuable exchange of friendship came to campus on Wednesday as children from Converse Elementary School in Beloit visited their UW-Whitewater student pen pals. The Budding Scholars Program in the office of Student Diversity, Engagement and Success pairs university students with a second or third grader from Converse. The children practice their writing skills in letters and learn about higher education. The university students visited Converse in December: on Thursday, the Converse students returned the visit. The program was started in 2015 with a King/Chavez Scholar class and expanded to include New Student Seminar classes and the Future Teacher Program. (UW-Whitewater photo/Craig Schreiner)

What started as a pen-pal project between UW-Whitewater students and 2nd graders in Beloit, Wis., has transformed into an award-winning mentorship program. The Little Scholars Program recently won an outstanding achievement award from the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action. College students write letters to their little buddies, and the groups visit one another during the school year. In fact, the little scholars had an inspiring visit last spring to tour campus, visit classrooms, and work on STEM projects with their college buddies.

Read more about the inspiring Little Scholars Program.