At an invitation-only education summit held at the White House last week, Oregon Tech, represented by president Chris Maples, was among 80 colleges that were asked to present ideas to encourage economically challenged students to attend and achieve success in college.
Oregon Tech currently partners with South Metro-Salem STEM and Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland to provide mentoring, college advising workshops, and tuition assistance to encourage students to go to college. A personalized text-messaging campaign to increase STEM course-taking and achievement among underrepresented minorities and disadvantaged students is being developed at Oregon Tech in collaboration with Harvard researchers Ben Castleman and Lindsay Page.
First Lady Michelle Obama commended Oregon Tech for this text-messaging proposal in her address at the summit, saying, “Every school has advisers who desperately want their students to succeed. Oregon Tech is committing to set up a text-message program so that these advisers can easily connect to these students who need some extra encouragement or academic support.”
Maples expressed excitement over the recognition and eagerness to begin work on the project, stating, “It’s an honor to be one of only two schools recognized by name at the event, and I am very excited to have a chance to work with Ben and Lindsay on a way to encourage more economically disadvantaged students to attend and finish college.”
This proposal builds on Oregon Tech’s existing efforts to make college more accessible and affordable, such as providing OWLS scholarships for completing nine hours of college-level STEM courses. Over the past seven years, Oregon Tech has provided discounted college courses to 8,000 students, helping them save more than $3 million in tuition.
To watch Michelle Obama’s summit presentation, visit http://youtu.be/XsF9Vs6RE-g?t=9m40s.
About Oregon Tech
Founded in Klamath Falls in 1947, Oregon Institute of Technology is one of seven universities in the Oregon University System, and the only public institute of technology in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Tech provides degree programs in engineering and health technologies, management, communication, and applied sciences that prepare students to be effective participants in their professional, public, and international communities through hands-on learning. Oregon Tech has a full-service, residential campus in Klamath Falls and an urban, industry-focused campus in Wilsonville. Visit www.oit.edu to learn more about Oregon Institute of Technology.