Summer is officially here – I hope you’ve been enjoying sunny days outside, perfectly melty ice cream, and getting together with friends and family! (Speaking of ice cream, here is a little ice cream science experiment to try at home! See below for the experiment) It is so exciting to be learning with you in person, as our summer classes and camps are now in full swing. We’ve already covered topics ranging from Nature Comics to LEGO physics, and we’re looking forward to more classes in topics as exciting as Medical Science to The Art of Math. For those who are more comfortable in a virtual environment, we have online classes in The Art of Persuasion, 3D Modeling, the Geometry of Character Drawing and more. A summer full of STEAM excitement is making our hearts sing!
August also means that we are more than halfway done with our Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering program. Our mentors have created such exciting internships as “Data Science, Bias, and Climate Data” and “Design a Portable Wind Turbine to Harness Energy Naturally.” We are delighted to invite you to the end-of-summer Symposium on Thursday August 12th, where our 69 interns will be presenting their work. A link to the virtual conference will be shared closer to the event.
Saturday Academy students and interns aren’t the only people learning this summer – Saturday Academy staff are continuing their journey as we engage in ongoing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion training. With the guidance of Neeraja Havaligi and LeRoy Patton, we are three months into our 9-month training and have already gained much from the experience. The curricula they have assembled is challenging but enlightening. Our goals are to develop a shared understanding of and insights into 1) the historical and current context of racism, 2) our ongoing quest for Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI), and 3) the potential for us as individuals and as an entire organization to drive change. Some of the most conversation-sparking articles we covered include:
'We the People' - the three most misunderstood words in US history | Mark Charles
“You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument” | Caroline Randall Williams, New York Times, June 2020
The Race Card Project – www.theracecardproject.org
Perhaps one of the most surprising reads for me was about comfort food – “The Asian dishes that bring our readers comfort and remind them of home”. While it was not surprising to me that comfort food is closely tied to our cultural roots, what struck me was the statement from a reader that they nearly cried when somebody used “Boba straw” to describe something – they felt that the word being mainstream meant that “We had arrived. We were mainstream.” Food really does have a way of connecting people, and can be a powerful means of communication and acceptance. Ultimately, comfort food is all about love. We can all use a little more love, so I hope that you get a chance to enjoy and share your favorite comfort food with others this summer.
Jackie Wirz, Executive Director of Saturday Academy
P.S. On the topic of amazing reads, earlier this year, the Saturday Academy book club read “Piecing me Together” by Renee Watson. This young adult novel takes place in Portland, and the book eloquently addresses issues around friendships, race, privilege, identity, and mentorship through the life of high school student Jade. It was an incredible read, and we highly recommend it to our community!