Story and photos by John Coleman
The Barn at the University of California, Riverside was overflowing Friday the 13th with proud parents, teachers, and supporters during a reception for the inaugural USA Class of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Academy (STEM) at UCR.
USA at UCR describes itself as a campus-community collaborative that provides 6th-9th grade scholars a high quality, academically robust, learning environment with the mission to increase STEM Academy graduates academic skills and performance in STEM curricula and to maximize the numbers and percentage of Academy graduates who proceed on to college and higher education levels.
The UCR campus, obviously, is highly involved in this educational ‘enterprise’. The list of ‘community collaborators’ is growing, including: California Black Faculty and Staff Assn: The Council for the Advancement of Black Engineers; The Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers; The J W Vines Medical Society, (Inland Empire); JW Vines Medical Foundation; Theta Pi Sigma Alumnae Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc; Riverside NAACP; The Group; Riverside Alumni Chapter, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc; the Universitystemacademy.org; and the host of friends, supporters, and others who teach, supervise, raise funds, and provide the range of administrative, organizational maintenance, and other services that keep things working.
In her opening remarks and welcome, Carolyn B Murray, PhD, UCR Professor of Psychology, and Director, University STEM Academy said that, for years, she had been pressing for the restoration of the Saturday Academy Program, or the initiation of a new STEM Program at UCR. Many different administrations gave many different reasons why it couldn’t be done. But when the concept, issues and needs were presented to Chancellor Kim A Wilcox, his response was positive, enthusiastic, activist…..UCR would be more than just a place where Academy classes and programs could ‘meet’, but the renowned academic institution is becoming the place where students can find academic success.