by Kelly Rogge
Kansas City Kansas Community College is the recipient of three grants that will go toward funding its long-running Saturday Academy program.
More than 150 students in middle and high school from the Kansas City, Kan., Public Schools participated in the Saturday Academy during the 2013-2014 academic year.
The academy was originally founded in 1999 to increase minority involvement in the health and science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers. Ninety-six percent of the more than 200 academy graduates have entered colleges and universities, with 68 percent choosing careers as STEM majors.
The Saturday Academy is part of a bigger program called the KCKCC Urban Academy. This program includes a Youth Leadership and Development Corps and a Summer Science Residential Academy at the University of Kansas, along with the Saturday Academy.
“Almost 300 students apply for a spot in the Saturday Academy every year,” said Edward Kremer, dean of the Division of Mathematics, Science and Computer Technology at KCKCC. “We see this as a pipeline to get students into college. Of the students that graduate from the Saturday Academy, they receive between $150,000 and $500,000 in scholarships, sometimes even more than that.”
KCKCC was awarded a $25,000 grant through the Kansas Health Foundation’s Recognition Grants program. The Recognition Grants program expands the Kansas Health Foundation’s support to a broad range of health-related organizations throughout the state of Kansas.
The program targets organizations and agencies that propose meaningful and charitable projects or initiatives that fit within the foundation’s mission of improving health in Kansas. The foundation provided approximately $1.2 million to 66 different projects this grant cycle. Any tax-exempt, nonprofit organization using the money for charitable purposes and proposing a project that meets the foundation’s mission is eligible.
The second grant was awarded by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The $45,000 grant will go toward operation costs of the six-week summer camp at KU. The camp is for high school sophomores, juniors and seniors and allows them to participate in research projects and internships in cooperation with the University of Kansas Medical Center. Instruction is given in math, science, language arts and computer technology and students have the opportunity to go on field trips and participate in college test preparation while at KU.
“This is a six week, residential stay camp at KU where the students do enrichment and college-prep type of work in math and science,” Kremer said. “This grant is the reason we are able to still offer the KU program this summer.”
The final grant is a $2,500 grant from DST Systems, which will also go toward the operation of the Saturday Academy. KCKCC has received this grant for the last several years.
“In the last 15 years, we have graduated more than 250 kids who have come through our pipeline,” Kremer said. “In addition, more than 454 teachers have participated, either from USD 500 or the community college. It is a terrific opportunity for students and continues to be a great way to get students interested in the STEM fields.”
For more information about the Kansas Health Foundation, visit www.kansashealth.org. For more information on the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, visit hcfgkc.org/. For more information on KCKCC’s Saturday Academy, contact Edward Kremer at 913-288-7111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Rogge is the supervisor of public information at KCKCC.