PORTLAND, Ore. – The Oregon University System announced today that the Engineering & Technology Industry Council (ETIC) awarded The SMILE Program at Oregon State University a $73,500 Pre-College Grant for “Engineering the Future: Youth Engagement in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, & Math).”

The grant will allow The SMILE Program to motivate and prepare approximately 260 Corvallis-area middle school students and their families for college, through sustained professional development for classroom teachers to act as advisors for after school science and math clubs, an on-campus event for middle-school students, and community-based programs for families.

The grant was one of six Pre-College Grants statewide supporting efforts to improve the pipeline of highly skilled engineering and technology students in K-12 and postsecondary education. The $390,000 total in grants will fund six model programs sponsored by Oregon public colleges, universities and school districts to expand the state’s ability to motivate and prepare students for success in engineering and high technology careers.

Eda Davis-Butts, director of The SMILE Program, says, “We are very excited for this grant which will help The SMILE Program to engage rural Oregon youth in meaningful learning experiences in their local communities and on college campuses. Through these experiences, middle schoolers will better understand engineering process, build broader awareness of the range of engineering careers, and make important connections between engineering career aspirations and academic paths. Simply put, rural, middle school youth will find reasons to do well in school and plan for their college educations– all through a context of engineering.”

The Pre-College Grants supports ETIC’s strategy to “grow our own” Oregon engineers and computer scientists, and ultimately double the number of engineering and computer science college grads in Oregon to support the industry and economy. The grants also support the Oregon Pre-engineering and Applied Science Initiative (OPAS), a collaboration of industry, education, and policy leaders who have been tackling the pressing need for improvement in pre-engineering and applied science educational pipelines since 2005.

Bruce Schafer, executive director of ETIC, says, “The ETIC grant committee and OPAS leadership are very excited about the quality projects this biennium’s grants support, and for all the students whose eyes will be opened and futures widened as a result of their great work. It is so important to expand student pathways toward these promising careers, and to foster Oregon-grown talent and skills for its high-tech industries.”

The six grant recipients were:

- Health & Science High School (Beaverton, Oregon);
- The SMILE Program at Oregon State University;
- Portland Community College;
- Redmond School District;
- Salem-Keizer School District; and
- University of Oregon Material Sciences Institute.

The awards were given to programs that advance pre-engineering education efforts through a broad range of outreach, student programs, and curricula that motivate and prepare tomorrow’s engineers and scientists. The grantees will serve students across the state from Portland to Hermiston, from Salem to Redmond, and many of the grantee programs will target or expand educational services to underrepresented students, including rural, minority, and female students in an effort to recruit new talent.

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Bruce Schafer,