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AT&T Grant Expands EIT’s High School Programs

High school students representing 21 hometowns across Arkansas were able to attend on-campus, no-cost summer academic programs this summer at UALR’s Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT), thanks in part to a $40,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.

The AT&T gift was the largest received in EIT’s campaign to increase the number of students the summer programs could afford to accept.

“For more than 25 years, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have been committed to strengthening communities through advancing education,” said Ed Drilling, president, AT&T Arkansas.

“An educated workforce for the future is critical to the success of our nation, and to the success of our company as well. The summer program at UALR gives these students a greater opportunity for success, and improves our state’s ability to compete – today and tomorrow.”

During June and July camps, 43 high school students studied mathematics, science, technology, and engineering in two innovative programs that have proven successful in encouraging participants to go on to major in those subjects in college.

This summer’s high school STEM camp enrollment represented a 48 percent increase over the number accepted in 2010, thanks in large part to the support of Arkansas companies that have helped fund the programs growth. That growth is expected to continue in 2012 when additional residence hall space is available.

The two summer programs are:

  • Engineering Scholars Program, June 19-July 1, in which 24 students representing 15 towns in the state received hands-on instruction from engineering faculty on college-level projects. One student from Oklahoma also participated. The 24 participants have a collective 3.77 grade-point average in high school.
  • The High School Research Program, July 10-29, included 19 students representing seven Arkansas towns the chance to spend three weeks at UALR, working with EIT professors to engage in meaningful research and other academic projects. Two students from Tennessee also participated. The 19 participants average a 3.96 grade-point average in high school.

“Getting students energized about engineering and technology is critical to developing the passion and commitment it requires to pursue these challenging fields in college,” said Dr. Eric Sandgren, EIT’s dean.

“Our summer programs have been successful in inspiring students to major in science, technology, engineering, or math in college, and now – thanks to the generosity of AT&T and other Arkansas companies – we can extend that opportunity to many more deserving Arkansas youth.”

Nearly 80 percent of the high school students who have attended EIT summer camps have gone on to college to major in STEM subjects.