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Saturday Academy gets kids involved

Portland State University and Oregon Health Sciences University (OSHU) have forged a new relationship with the Saturday Academy.

According to Dick Pratt, from the Portland State office of academic affairs, the Saturday Academy is one of the largest pre-college programs in the country. Seven to ten thousand children in grades four through 12 go through academy programs each year.

The academy offers applied learning classes, workshops and internships that place particular emphasis on the sciences, math and technology. Pratt said the Saturday Academy also is involved in other programs such as theater.

Saturday Academy will continue to offer programs to pre-college students including workshops such as: Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE); Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (AWSEM); Saturday Academy Applied Mathematics (SAAM); and the Student Watershed Research Project (SWRP).

The Saturday Academy features programs to get minority students and young women involved in math and sciences.

The new alliance provides Portland State and OHSU a greater opportunity to build a pipeline for recruitment and outreach among the community.

“Building a pipeline essentially means it gets the kids interested,” Pratt said.

Pratt explained that the children need to first get excited about sciences, math and technology and then carry over that excitement and interest into their college career.

“We think they are a pretty good fit with PSU,” Pratt said.

Portland State University is undergoing a transition to put more emphasis on engineering and technologies.

Saturday Academy was formerly a department of the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology (OGI), which recently merged with OHSU.

As a part of that union, Portland State and OHSU embarked on a combined partnership with Saturday Academy. Portland State is now Saturday Academy’s fiscal agent and manager of program operations. OHSU will supply facilities and related support at the OGI School of Science & Engineering campus (now part of OHSU’s west campus.)

Both OHSU and Portland State have had a long-term relationship with the academy.

“We have had some role to play since the Saturday Academy has been in existence,” Pratt said.

The universities have supplied classroom facilities, encouraged their staffs to serve as instructors and mentors, and underwritten Saturday Academy conferences and events.

Saturday Academy’s alliance with OHSU and Portland State provides greater opportunities for pre-collage students by significantly expanding the number of classes available to them. The alliance is expected to strengthen relationships between faculty, researchers and clinicians at the two institutions.

The 18-year-old Saturday Academy will continue to be a self-sustaining organization. Its sources of operating revenue include tuition, fees, grants and contracts, and gifts from individuals, businesses and foundations. Gifts to Saturday Academy remain tax-deductible.

For more information about the Saturday Academy’s new alliance call the academy’s executive director, Joyce Cresswell, at 503-748-1260.