High school students from across the state and Los Angeles will get a taste of real college life this summer through UO pipeline programs like the Oregon Young Scholars Program.
Nearly 60 high school students will participate in the program’s free summer on-campus residential session July 20-28. While the majority are from Oregon, this year 11 students from Los Angeles will attend as part of a collaboration with the nonprofit organization Partnership for Los Angeles Schools and its Lundquist Fellows program.
Students will live in a residence hall, eat in an on-campus dining center, attend intensive daily classes in writing and STEM courses — science, technology, engineering and math — receive guidance for college preparation activities and more.
The young scholars program is organized around a cohort model where group collaborations are an invaluable piece of learning critical skills. Academics are not the only part of the program.
Time is built in for social, community and cultural activities, and civic engagement through volunteer experiences. The program promotes active reflection and leadership skills and encourages parents and families of students to communicate with teachers and administrators.
Each summer session includes a community networking dinner and a closing ceremony where students get to show off what they’ve learned to family and friends.
For the first time this summer, the community networking dinner will be in conjunction with the UO Summer Academy to Inspire Learning pipeline program, which runs the same week as the young scholars program. The joint production will bring together colleagues from government, education, business and community organizations to meet with students from the programs.
It will provide an opportunity for students to learn networking skills, gain insight into the various career and leadership paths, and share with community members information about themselves and their aspirations.
The program is designed to help students and families from underserved communities see that higher education is attainable. Participants for the program are initially chosen from eighth-grade classes from schools in Portland, Eugene-Springfield and Salem and focuses on students of color, students from homes with limited incomes and students who are the first in their families to be college bound. Students can return each summer of their high school years and participate in the year-round program.
The year-round program offers support through tutors, help with college applications and essays, well-being checkups and quarterly gatherings to check in and foster relationships. For high school seniors who have been through the program and are going on to college, a spring graduation ceremony and celebration caps the experience. Many students in the program become Ducks.
Gweneth Wolfe, who will be a UO junior this fall, went through the program and now helps run it through her student job with the Division of Equity and Inclusion. The program was critical to her coming to college.
“The program helped me on a personal and academic level,” Wolfe said. “The family I built with people in the program is invaluable, and the help I've been offered in terms of school is the only reason I continued on to college.”
Barbara Marbury oversees the program and is the programs coordinator for pipeline and community engagement at the UO Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence.
“The Oregon Young Scholars program is an amazing opportunity for high school students from underrepresented groups to come together in a safe, nurturing environment to develop and grow their academic, social and leadership skills,” she said. “Coordinating this program has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life.”
The program is supported by the Division of Equity and Inclusion, grants and donors. For more information, see the website.
—By tova stabin, University Communications