Summer Isn’t Just For Swimming: Austin’s East Side Youth Learn Stem Cell Research and More at Summer Youth Academy

Austin, TX – June 7, 2006 – How do you get a pre-teen thinking about college? Sending them to a fun, hands-on academy filled with career exploration is a start.

More than 100 at-risk middle school students from east and southeast Austin neighborhoods are participating in activities and programs that will expose them to various career options offered in college, such as stem cell research, robotics, and TV production. In its 11th year, Austin Community College’s Summer Youth Academy (SYA), held at the Riverside Campus, also serves as a self-esteem booster for pre-teens showing them that higher education is attainable for anyone.

“With the Summer Youth Academy we have developed a pipeline for underprivileged youth to follow from middle school to college, peaking their interests along the way and encouraging them to pursue higher education,” said Dr. Tyra Duncan-Hall, ACC Provost who oversees the academy. “We have former participants who are now high school juniors and seniors taking dual enrollment classes here at ACC and others who have come back to volunteer or to be motivational speakers. One student, now a graduate student at University of Florida, has returned almost every summer to speak to the kids.”

This year ACC is receiving three grants, totaling $64,532, to run the SYA. The AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) are donating $49,532; Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) is giving $10,000; and Tokyo Electron USA is awarding ACC $5,000. There will be a photo opportunity for the check presentations at noon, Thursday, June 8 in the lecture hall of building G at the Riverside Campus.

“We are grateful to the companies who see the academy’s value and who have graciously donated the necessary funds to run the program,” added Duncan-Hall. The funds will also support a parallel “Parents’ Academy” in which parents are given advice on how to encourage their children to pursue college.

The SYA is divided into two sessions, each running two weeks. Follow-up Saturday academies are held for both student and parents.


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