Last week over 90 under-represented Seattle high school students embarked upon the campus of Seattle Central College for their first-ever college experience when they attended the kick off to Summer University, a high school enrichment program led by the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle (ULMS), on the campus of Seattle Central College.
Now in its second year, the program has more than doubled, from 37 students in 2016 to over 90 enrollees this year. Google helped fund last year’s pilot program, and is granting $50,000 to the program this year.
Over the course of six weeks, students in the program will be immersed in various STEAM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics), with courses designed to stimulate curiosity and appreciation for the wide range of college degrees and career opportunities available to them. They will receive college credit and high school credit retrieval to support their high school graduation and increase the likelihood of attending college.
“Thanks to generous support from Google, we’ll be able to provide a college jump-start to twice as many Seattle youth this year,” said Michelle Merriweather, vice president of ULMS. “By engaging these kids in hands-on experience in the STEAM fields, we are able to open their eyes to academic and career opportunities they may not have considered before.”
Throughout the program, students will attend classes five days a week and explore important STEAM related topics in a collection of one week workshops. In addition to their work in a classroom, attendees will also have the chance to learn from career focused field experience and guest speakers. Some of the opportunities include field-trips to local businesses, museums, colleges, and even an educational tour of Google’s headquarters.
“Education is powerful, and Summer University provides a unique opportunity for students to get a taste of both the college experience, and of the exciting careers in STEM fields,” said Darcy Nothnagle, head of external affairs for the NW at Google. “We are glad to support the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to provide this opportunity to even more youth from under-represented communities this year.”
According to ULMS, Summer University does not have a geographic boundary for attendees, but the majority of students are from the Central District and South Seattle. The vast majority of past attendees are students of color who would be the first in their family to attend college.
Outcome data from students who completed the course in 2016 showed that 74 percent of attendees were more likely to attend college, 87 percent were more interested in STEAM topics, 97 percent made new connections and 90 percent would participate in future Urban League activities.