AT&T Aspire Support to Bolster RSU Summer Programs

Four men and one woman hold an oversize check for presentationAT&T representatives on Thursday presented a $24,600 check to the Rogers State University Foundation to support two university programs – Destination: College and the ART (Appreciating Real-world Technology) Academy.

Both programs serve low-income, high school juniors and seniors to encourage them to attend college and better prepare them for a successful transition to higher education.

Students stand around two men in suits “Education has been a priority for AT&T for more than a century, and we believe that when we invest in education, we are making our communities stronger, safer and more economically viable,” said Steve Hahn, president of AT&T Oklahoma.

“By utilizing technology to improve the skills and expand the horizons of at-risk students in Northeastern Oklahoma, Rogers State University is helping drive positive, measurable outcomes for the communities they serve. AT&T is proud to support these programs and RSU’s efforts to help prepare students for success in college.”

AT&T’s support for these programs is part of the company’s ongoing commitment to education. With a commitment to invest $350 million to education through 2017, AT&T Aspire is among the most significant corporate educational initiatives in the U.S. AT&T Aspire tackles high school success and college/career readiness for students at-risk of dropping out of high school through a socially innovative approach. The Aspire program seeks to deepen the company’s financial commitment to local education-focused groups that deliver results, especially for groups that embrace social innovation, focus on 21st-century skills or focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines for students in underserved communities. A core focus for the initiative is supporting community organizations that specialize in helping students and improving the quality of education.

“We’re honored by this investment by AT&T in the future success for at-risk students in Oklahoma,” said RSU President Dr. Larry Rice. “Through support from AT&T Aspire, RSU will be able to bolster our existing outreach programs and add STEM components that will meaningfully enhance the experience for participating students.”

Established in 2012 as part of the Talent Search program at RSU, Destination: College provides an intensive college preparation experience for students about to start their senior year in high school.

Funded through the Department of Education, the program includes hands-on workshops on completing a college application, navigating the financial aid process and sharing strategies for preparing students for college success.

The event also includes a service learning project designed to reinforce the community service mission for Oklahoma colleges and university.

Destination: College is for students enrolled in the Educational Talent Search program at RSU, which serves low-income students from four Tulsa schools, Chelsea, Skiatook, Foyil and Claremore.

Now in its third year, ART Academy provides a week-long residential camp designed to provide a technology-focused college experience for juniors and seniors throughout Oklahoma. During the camp, students get hands-on involvement in science and technology programs, including forensic science, radio/television production and three-dimensional animation. The intent of the program is to have students participate in academic programs on a college campus, while laying the groundwork for future college success.

For both programs, the Aspire contribution will be used to add an art robotics module in a multi-discipline learning environment and it will expand use of technology throughout the programs, including language learning software, scientific calculators and computer access. Many of the 20 to 30 participants in each program would be the first in their families to attend college, including some from backgrounds that suggest a possible high risk for dropping out from high school.