The SAIL pre-university program will organize a hybrid program for the summer of 2021 | New

Due to COVID-19, the University of Oregon will host its Summer Academy to Inspire Learning online, a program designed to engage high school and college students. Registrations for the 2021 summer program open on May 1.

SAIL is a free pre-college program whose mission is to “inspire middle and high school students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, first generation and under-represented throughout the state of Oregon.”

SAIL typically takes place over two weeks, with a different group of students each week, typically totaling around 500 students, according to Lara Hernandez, executive director of SAIL. Students participating in the program meet and interact with faculty, volunteers, student mentors and other resources on the university campus.

Participating students can choose a certain main program path, in which they can explore fictional classrooms and meet professors in the major of their choice. Hernandez said the goal is for students to have a thorough understanding of all the things they can do on campus as a specific major by the end of the week. Hernandez said she would rename SAIL to “impact” if she could.

“Each year I am blown away by the impact we have with the students,” Hernandez said. “By helping young students who never thought higher education would be an opportunity for them, we are helping many students, year after year, to make it a reality.

Josie Thomas, SAIL’s senior staff member, has been involved with the program since the summer of her eighth grade and continued to participate in the program through all four years of high school. After arriving at UO, she started working as a staff member.

“As someone who has been involved with SAIL for quite a long time, I can honestly say that this program has helped me build the self-confidence that I have now,” said Thomas. “This program helped me decide to go to the University of Oregon and helped me realize how smart and capable I am.”

Due to COVID-19, the 2021 summer program will be virtual Monday through Thursday and in person on campus on Friday. While Hernandez said she believes being in person is especially important for the teenage population, the program has adapted to COVID-19 regulations. Hernandez said that over the course of Zoom last year, the program was able to engage with the entire family of students, which she described as a “silver lining.”

Adrian Sampedro Cruz, SAIL Summer Advisor and Program Outreach Coordinator, said SAIL staff have “really been able to adapt to the virtual world while helping students with all the support they could. need”.

Thomas agreed.

“We miss seeing our students in person and being able to interact with them in person,” Thomas said. “Nonetheless, SAIL has persevered over the past year and is ready to do it again this summer. ”

Cruz said that as a recent first-generation college graduate from a low socio-economic background, this program is important to him.

“This program allows me to share my story with other students who might relate to mine,” said Cruz. “Everyone I have met through SAIL has really made an impact in my life, and I wouldn’t change that experience for anything else.

Hernandez said that about 100 SAIL alumni attend college each year at UO, and 92% of SAIL students who graduate from high school go to college.

She said the hardest part of the program is finding funding – both helping students find funding to make college a reality, as well as finding funding for the program.

Volunteers primarily run SAIL, and all faculty members who participate during the summer volunteer. Hernandez said that once faculty members and other volunteers get involved with SAIL, they see how important it is.

“Some of them will say it’s their favorite part of their year,” Hernandez said. “Once they get involved, they stay that way for a long time. ”

Cruz said that getting involved with SAIL has given him many unique opportunities and allowed him to experience different leadership roles.

“I would have liked to have known about this program in high school, because as a young first generation college graduate, I would have benefited from SAIL,” said Cruz.

Hernandez, Cruz and Thomas all said that one of the most important parts of the SAIL program is that it is free.

“The fact that this program is free allows students from under-represented communities to access the resources and opportunities offered by SAIL,” said Thomas.

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