Saturday Academy is pleased to announce the hiring of a new Executive Director, Jackie Wirz. Jackie joins Saturday Academy with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry which she received from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). Since 2016, Jackie served as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies with OHSU where she led a variety of bold initiatives, including creating a more positive culture for women in STEM through the Sexual Harassment Awareness Task Force, promoting unconscious bias and bystander training for OHSU’s staff of 22,000, serving as a graduate student advocate and founding Research Week. In addition, she served on the Educator’s Collaborative advisory board which used skill-building activities to coach more than 200 Oregon education leaders in the community.
Eileen Boerger, Saturday Academy’s Board Chair said, “We are thrilled to welcome Jackie to Saturday Academy. She brings extensive experience to the organization as a STEM professional and educator. Her unique combination of nurturing student career success, serving as a professor and developing curricula make her an ideal candidate to shepherd Saturday Academy through the next stage of its organizational journey.”
From 2014-2020, Jackie created and served as the Director of the Career and Professional Development Center at OHSU. At the Center she promoted professional development and lifelong learning for 850 graduate students through counseling and curricula. She developed the Personal Professional Development Program and Transferable Skills Workshop, which have been implemented as a roadmap for career and professional success across the Pacific Northwest for learners of all types including undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty and staff. Jackie also is a classically trained pianist, runner and prolific reader.
Jackie said, “I am excited to join the team at Saturday Academy and to work with its dedicated board and staff. My experience has taught me that high quality STEM education can change lives by creating that spark of inspiration, and this spark can be nurtured through mentorship and education into the next generation of STEM professionals. Saturday Academy has served as a leader in STEM education for the past 37 years and I look forward to continuing this important work while collaborating with community partners, mentors and instructors to ignite curiosity and a love of learning in our students.”
Saturday Academy’s previous Executive Director, Jeri Janowsky, who retired from the position on May 1, said, “I couldn’t be more pleased to have Jackie taking up the reins of the organization. She has the critical thinking, flexibility and mission-driven heart that is needed as we transition through this difficult period and look forward to our programs full of kids eager to learn.