More than 200 Sonoma County high school students converged on Sonoma State Friday to celebrate their graduation from the Mike Hauser Academy, a three-week immersive summer science, technology, engineering and math program sponsored by the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber.
The academy caters to incoming 9th grade English language learner students and students who could benefit from extra math and science support. The students are given the opportunity to visit STEM-related companies and interact with engineers and professionals. They also participate in hands-on activities to see how classroom lessons apply to STEM occupations.
“I really liked having all my friends and I go to different companies and learn new things,” said incoming Rancho Cotate freshman Sophia Craig, who was among the graduates on campus Friday. “We learned how other people use math and science in their everyday jobs, and it was neat to see.”
On Friday, Academy students were invited to hear from a panel of speakers including a Sonoma State student, SSU faculty members and academy alumni, each of whom discussed their educational journeys and offered advice to students about the college experience.
The academy students were then treated to lunch on the lawn outside the Student Center before heading for their graduation ceremony, which was held in the Mount Everest Gym in the Recreation Center.
“It is increasingly understood that STEM innovation is farthest-reaching and most impactful when it builds on the strengths of a diverse STEM workforce,” said Lynn Satuffer, dean of the School of Science and Technology. “That means we need more young scientists, engineers and mathematicians breaking traditional molds. We need all of you to see yourselves as the future thinkers, leaders and changemakers in these fields.”
Launched in 2008, the academy was created by the late Mike Hauser, former CEO of the Santa Rosa Chamber. The academy is a county-wide program, in partnership with Healdsburg, Rohnert Park and Sebastopol Chambers. According to the Metro Chamber, 78 percent of this year’s students came from low-income households and 77 percent are English-language learners.
For more information on the Mike Hauser Academy, visit the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber.