INVESTING NOW, the Swanson School of Engineering pre-college diversity program, was established in 1988 to stimulate, support, and recognize the high academic performance of high school students as well as ensure that participants are prepared for college. The primary goals of the program are to: 1) create a pipeline for well-prepared students to enter college and pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors; 2) encourage and support student’s enrollment and achievement in advanced mathematics and science courses; 3) ensure that participants make informed college choices; 4) support and encourage parents in their roles as advocates for their children; and 5) coordinate partnerships between the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering and local and regional schools.
Annually, approximately 175 students participate in INVESTING NOW. Participants are involved in academic advising, tutoring, career awareness activities, college planning seminars, and hands-on science and engineering experiences. Additionally, students in the ninth through the eleventh grade attend a five week summer enrichment program on the University of Pittsburgh campus. They attend non-credit classes in mathematics, science and writing in the morning and participate in an engineering project class in the afternoon. In past years, ninth grade students have participated in a robotics project, tenth graders have participated in a bioengineering project and eleventh graders have participated in an alternative energy and sustainability project.
The target audience for INVESTING NOW is students from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students are recruited in the eighth grade and they continue to participate in the program through high school graduation. Older students are eligible to apply based on the available spaces in the program.