Saturday Academy

September 16, 2022

Amount Requested$15,000.00


5000 N. Willamette Blvd
Portland, Oregon 97203

Melissa Erickson

Director of Development

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  • Broaden Perspectives Through Art, Culture, Literature or Extracurricular Experiences
Proposal Information

Funds are Being Requested for:

Program Support

Mission Statement

Saturday Academy develops creative, confident, and curious critical thinkers by engaging students in socially conscious and equitable Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) experiences. We spark curiosity, connect our community, and empower students to become the innovative thinkers and problem solvers of the next generation.

Amount Requested


Program Budget


Organizational Budget


Relationship to the Olseth Family Foundation


Summarize Your Request

Saturday Academy's after-school and career exploration programming provides enriching, hands-on opportunities designed to spark interest in STEAM and help underrepresented students in grades 2-12 develop skills they can use for the future.

After-school and summer classes/camps feature:
• Inquiry- and project-based that offer application of academic concepts in a supportive environment.
• Examples include Medical Illustration, Animal Biology Camp, Creative Arts Lab, and Digital Music Project
• Includes classes specifically for girls, designed to engage them in STEAM
• No tests, homework, or grades
• Small class sizes with an average size of 12. Most classes are now in-person however we will continue to offer online options based on interest and need.
• Adjustable to accommodate specific academic ability levels and learning goals
• Instructors are content-area experts who are STEAM professionals passionate about teaching their specialty and either volunteer or receive a stipend for their time. They are required to participate in Culturally Responsive Trauma-informed trainings
• Support students in developing skills needed to meet Next Generation Science Standards

Apprenticeships in Science & Engineering (ASE) are eight-week, full-time summer positions, designed to prepare high school students for continuing education and careers in STEM. Internships take place at mentor organizations throughout Oregon, primarily in the Portland-metro area. ASE provides a network of advisers who help students with advice, scholarship applications and recommendations. Students apply to the apprenticeships and projects that interest them ranking their top three choices. During the program, we offer ongoing support for interns with ASE staff to help them assimilate in their roles as interns and address any challenges. In addition, all interns receive a $1,000 stipend to help with expenses and high school credit.

Overview of the Grant Request

Population Served

Approximately 2,000 students in grades 2-12. We target underrepresented students in STEM including BIPOC, girls, and low-income populations.

Geographic Area Served

Primarily Portland-metro as well as other regions of Oregon

List Three Measurable Goals That This Funding Will Help You Achieve.

1. In the 2022-2023 school year/summer, offer 250 hands-on STEAM after-school classes and camps to approximately 1,700 students in grades 2-12 to encourage their interest in STEAM and develop new skills
2. Provide 80-90 high school students with internships through ASE as well as offering other career exploration programming throughout the school year to help them gain valuable experience and skills to prepare for post-secondary education and a career
3. Offer equitable programming by expanding the number of students we serve from underrepresented communities

How Will You Accomplish These Goals?

STEAM after-school classes take place at neighborhood organizations or schools and are open to any student attending the school or who are a part of the organization hosting the class. Nearly all of these classes (95%) are grant funded and free for students to attend. We primarily offer classes at Title 1 schools or through community organizations that focus on serving girls and/or underrepresented minorities in STEM, such as: NAYA, IRCO Africa House, Latino Network, Hacienda CDC, APANO, Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Club (Inukai & Rockwood). We are also working to expand our partnerships to ensure we can reach even more students in low-income communities and ensure that classes are taught by instructors who are trained in equitable practices.

In the summer we offer open-enrollment camps to give students diverse opportunities to explore STEAM with a sliding scale for cost available so families can attend, regardless of income. When enrolling for camps through our website, a simple system allows parents to answer questions about income, number of children in the household and other special circumstances. Families who are part of the free/reduced lunch program and make less than $53,000 per year are eligible for 85%-100% of tuition. Camps range in price from $80 for a one-day workshop to $500 for one week of camp. The average assistance awarded per student is $178.

To reach more underrepresented students in ASE, we partner with Title 1 schools and community organizations to offer in-person and virtual professional development workshops that help approximately 150 students prepare for ASE and broad career development skills such as resume building and interviewing including: 3 cover letter writing workshops and 1 interview skills workshop. We also promote ASE to area school districts including specifically targeting Title 1 schools, and community organizations.
This year, we received 410 total applications, and 84 students participated: 17% were free/reduced lunch and 77% were from underrepresented communities in STEM. Examples of internships that were offered this summer include:
Circadian rhythm and therapies for alcohol use disorders: VA Portland HealthCare System
Plant biochemistry with application to human health and the environment: University of Portland
Automation engineer intern at Vernier Software & Technology
Meteorology at NOAA National Weather Surface

In addition, for the second year we are offering STEAM Career Tracks to a cohort of 30 students recruited from our pool of ASE applicants who were not matched with an internship.This program connects underrepresented high school students to industry professionals through hands-on workshops, industry / lab tours, professional development, and networking opportunities and takes place throughout the fall, after school with optional weekend workshops for a total of eight weeks.

Looking Forward, How Will You Measure These Goals?

Classes: We do not track test scores or grades. To us, success is seeing students explore their curiosity and get excited about STEAM. We hope to see students interested in pursuing more STEAM learning and/or going onto study the sciences in college and as a career. We also strive to reach more underrepresented students and demonstrating an increase in equity through the students served, the instructors/mentors we recruit and the DEI trainings that our staff can apply to classes is also an indicator of achievement. We also look for those who take more than one class and return year after year as a sign of continued interest in the programming.

To evaluate our programming, students use a paper (grades 1-4) Likert scale evaluation tool in each class that ask questions such as: “How interested in the subject are you after taking this class?,” “Do you want to take more classes like this in the future?” An electronic form is used for grades 5-12. It has additional questions such as, “I felt comfortable asking questions and participating,” “I am more curious about this topic after taking this class,” “This class challenged me.” The electronic form permits near immediate review by program staff and feedback to instructors. A similar questionnaire is also sent to parents of participants. Another metric is whether students sign up for a class (voting with their feet). If a class has poor enrollment, we consider dropping it or make modifications before offering it again.

Outcomes include: 90% of students will report an increase in knowledge in the subject studied and 70% will report an increased interest in learning more about the class/camp subject.

In ASE, outcomes include:
At least 90% of interns will report that their technical skills increased as a result of the internship
At least 80% of interns will report that the ASE experience influenced their career aspirations
At least 95% of mentors will report that they would recommend the ASE Program to students interested in pursuing a college degree or career in STEAM.
Quantitative evaluation: ASE will be evaluated based on the number of students served and percentage from underrepresented communities.
Qualitative evaluation: This takes place each summer through teacher monitor visits and assessments with interns. Mentors are also interviewed to learn how the internship is going from their perspective. These evaluations provide essential feedback on the program and are analyzed by the ASE staff at the end of the summer.

Implementation Plan

Start Date


End Date


Describe Most Significant Collaborations With Other Organizations And Efforts.

Partnerships are integral to bringing STEAM classes directly to students' neighborhoods and communities, and through ASE, they are a necessary part of the internship and mentorship process.

Classes: We partner with school districts and Title 1 schools, including Portland Public Schools and Beaverton, as well as community organizations including IRCO, Latino Network, and Boys and Girls Club.

ASE: We collaborate with more than 20 of the most respected universities, corporations, government entities and hospitals who serve as mentor organizations for the ASE program. 150 mentors and co-mentors represent these organizations and give of their time to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals. Many prestigious community members speak at our Midsummer Conference and Symposium, providing the interns additional information and opportunities to learn from expert professionals.

In addition, we have a formal affiliation agreement with the University of Portland (UP). We rent on-campus office space from UP at an affordable rate and UP provides advice and expertise when requested, such as for human resource questions. We engage the UP community in volunteer activities and educational programs and hire or host as interns dozens of UP undergraduates learning about education and nonprofit management. Many UP professors host and mentor local high school interns through ASE.

What Is The Projected Timeline For The Proposed Activities?

We seek funds for our 2022-2023 fiscal year. Classes and camps take place after-school, during breaks and in the summer. Enrollment takes place through schools and community organizations where classes are offered, and/or registering through our website.

ASE includes:
Fall - Recruitment of mentor organizations and mentors; Information sessions/outreach to students, with a focus on underserved students.
Winter - Final mentors and internship positions secured/applications open. Workshops to support
student applications include cover letter writing, resume building, and interviewing.
Spring - Application period closes. Mentor organization interviews with students. Students are matched with mentors. Student selections are announced.
June and July - Students begin internships. Midsummer Conference takes place.
August - Student presentations at ASE Symposium. Internships completed.

Supplemental Information

Current Year Organizational Budget


Program Budget For Proposed Funding Period
Audited Financials (if applicable)


Other Entries
Approval Status