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SEPTEMBER 2020

NEWSLETTER Model U.N. - Learning to See the Interconnectedness of the World This summer, our Model United Nations camp was converted to an online format due to COVID-19. The class gave students the opportunity to serve as a delegate of one of the 193 member countries in the U.N. Students selected their country and learned to research, negotiate and discuss their country’s interests and risks on climate change policy. Student delegates debated ‘nationally determined contributions’ to adopt at the U.N. Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26) which will be held in 2021. They practiced the art of diplomacy and parliamentary procedure informed through research, scientific information and rational presentation as a delegate. The student presentations were designed to explore the juxtaposition of ecological and economic issues since COVID-19 and how these issues have affected each country. Model U.N. was taught by two of our favorite instructors, Neeraja Havaligi and Adam Goldstein. Neeraja brings her expertise to the class with a Bachelor’s in Agricultural Science, a Master’s in Plant Physiology, a second Master’s in Molecular Biology and Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Climate Adaptation and Urban Food Security. She began her career in agricultural research and conservation science with the United

Nations Development Program in New York, which is working to eradicate poverty through sustainable development. Today, she serves as a biodiversity/climate change advisor for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization from Portland. Adam, formerly a Professor at Iona College in Philosophy, received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins. He noticed that students were arriving to college unprepared, so he decided to shift gears to learn more about pedagogy and received his Master’s in Education from Hunter College. He moved to Portland, working at OMSI in the science education department and now teaches at Mt. Tabor Middle School. Neeraja believes students find meaning in Model U.N. saying, “Some students have only heard about the U.N. and have very little context as to what the role of the organization is. This class gives them insight by opening them up to the possibility to understand the U.S. position in relationship to


the world, and also helps them understand that it’s not just the U.S. that has all of the influence. They gain perspective and they acknowledge more deeply that they are part of a whole. They see the interconnectedness between countries through shared problems (e.g. climate change/air pollution is without borders) and that they are reliant on each other to solve these problems.” Adam believes hosting the class online offered a great opportunity for students to develop their online interaction skills as well, which will help them in the future. He said, “They learned how to navigate technology, how to listen and how to make their voices heard.” Through negotiation and compromise between the students they learned ways to solve a complex global problem, which has real impacts at local levels. Adam feels optimistic when he sees the excitement in students to learn about climate change. Neeraja is hopeful for the next generation because she meets young people who don’t just want to learn, but come with open mindedness to solve problems. She referenced the line from the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Shifting the Stage to the Screen: Moving the ASE Symposium Online As with so many things, the COVID pandemic led us to re-imagine Saturday Academy’s Apprenticeships in Science & Engineering (ASE) program. Not only were 61 internships converted to an online format, ASE supporting events also needed to adapt to the digital environment. Normally, the ASE internship culminates in the ASE Symposium, an end-of-summer gathering where interns, parents, mentors and special guest speakers gather to share the results of the interns’ hard work throughout the summer. We clearly couldn’t have everyone meet under one roof, so we needed to get creative with the event! Fortunately, we had the tools and expertise to be able to run the entire event digitally! The ASE team worked with our IT department to train Saturday Academy staff to support Zoom meetings and webinars, how to record sessions, and how to professionally administer breakout sessions. We worked our way through several practice runs, so that on the day of the event, we knew how to provide support for a professional event. The first ever online ASE Symposium was a success: not only were the interns able to share their findings with their ASE colleagues, we also created custom recordings of their presentations that friends and family can view at our website! (You can view the student presentations on our web site here: http://bit.ly/2020ASE). With all of the stresses this year has brought, we’re proud of all of our staff for stepping up to support the ASE Program’s foray into the digital world, and especially proud of the ASE interns for having the dedication and courage to keep pursuing their passions!


career moved from the finance department of ESCO to information systems at Mentor Graphics and consulting at Coopers & Lybrand.

Paying Forward a Love of Math Roger Eiss has been teaching for Saturday Academy for more than 25 years. He was close friends with Saturday Academy cofounder, Gail Whitney, and served on the board of directors. He was always good at math and discovered that there were many aspects of math he had learned on his own that could be learned by doing puzzles. After rotating off the board, he was recruited to teach a Saturday Academy class on recreational mathematics problems, showing students how to solve math problems when they don’t know the methods. Roger attended Saranac Lake High School in the Adirondacks in New York. He was already interested in math and while he wanted to take Calculus, his school didn’t offer the class. Not to be deterred, he found a book on the subject, taught himself, studied and passed the exam for New York State. After high school he received a B.S. and M.S. in Ceramic Technology and a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught Inorganic Chemistry at Oregon Graduate Institute and later became a senior legislative assistant in the House of Representatives in Washington to his friend, Representative Les AuCoin. After returning to Portland and acquiring his MBA, Roger’s

Once the COVID-19 crisis occurred, Roger volunteered to move his Pre-Calculus Academy class online. Through his extensive professional experience, he knows that in the working world everyone contributes to solving problems, and that’s how Roger likes to teach, with all his students contributing. With distance learning, he was able to successfully teach the class using a more traditional lecture format, but he looks forward to teaching students in person again one day, allowing for deeper collaboration. Roger says that he still appreciates all of the help his math teachers in high school and college gave him throughout his educational career. They improved his life immeasurably and he wants to pass that along to his students to pay it forward. That is his motivation to continue to teach today. Roger’s greatest wish is that one day there are Saturday Academy branches across the United States. He said, “We’ve shown that the approach offers important value, now other cities need to take it on.”

Save the Date! A Virtual Happy Hour of Discovery

Join the fun on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 5 p.m.


Your Impact 2019 - 2020 It truly has been a challenging year. When the COVID-19 crisis occurred in March, we had to cancel all classes, camps and workshops through June. With extraordinary work from our team, we swiftly adapted to the changing landscape. Saturday Academy offered online classes this summer as well as 61 remote ASE internships. We are proud of the accomplishments of our students and want to share our impact with you. We look forward to resuming our in-person and hands-on programming, but we are also excited at the opportunity to develop new ways to meet our mission. The lessons learned from our virtual model of engagement will be used as a stepping stone as Saturday Academy reinvents itself this fall and winter. We hope you will continue to support us on this journey as we kick off another year of innovation, learning, and sparking curiosity!

• 2,196 enrolled students in all Saturday Academy classes, camps workshops and internships • 869 students enrolled in classes & camps • 107 classes & camps held

• 940 enrolled students in Saturday Academy to You (SA2U) • 42 free after school classes in under-served schools • 35 schools served by SA2U

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• 326 elementary school girls in the Girls Engage Technology (GET) Program • Six teen girl instructors • After robotics class, 94% agreed that “I am the kind of person who could be an engineer”.

61 ASE students placed in remote internships 21 host mentor organizations 135 mentors and co-mentors 29 different high schools were represented

Service Demographics • 438 underrepresented minorities served • 185 low-income students received financial aid

Gender Distribution: Computer Science and Technology • 70% Female • 30% Male • Total students 427

Profile for Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy Newsletter - Sept 2020  

Saturday Academy Newsletter - Sept 2020  

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