CORVALLIS, Ore. – Middle school students from various school districts around the state will visit Oregon State University on Saturday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon, as part of an initiative designed to motivate students to pursue a university education after they graduate from high school.

Students from OSU’s Austin Entrepreneurship Program are teaming up with SMILE (Science and Math Investigative Learning Experience), a partnership between OSU and 14 primarily rural Oregon school districts that creates learning experiences for underserved students.

The goal of the project is to show these young students, a group which would not normally be engaged by higher education, that college is possible for everyone, including them. At this event, OSU students will escort middle school students to various campus activities and participate with them on campus tours as the young students learn about diverse university programs.

“The experience will be beneficial for not only the middle school students, but also eye-opening for the college students,” said Sandy Neubaum, assistant director of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program. “These middle school students will learn that college is a viable option while the college students will find themselves in a new role as role models for these aspiring youngsters.”

SMILE is a national organization that uses science and math enrichment for underrepresented and other educationally underserved students in grades four through 12. The Austin program is the country’s largest residential entrepreneurship program and offers entrepreneurship courses, hands-on experience and opportunities for professional development.

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Sandy Neubaum,