Maureen Ryan (Executive Director), Janet Hurwitz (Secretary) and Alfred Schnabel (Treasurer), met with Director of PGSS Professor Barry Luokkala and his new assistant Melissa Lessure. David Reiley (President), and Beverly Jogan and Corinne Powell (Board members) joined the meeting by conference call.
Sincere thanks go out to volunteers Martin Habich (PGSS 2003), Michelle Burroughs (PGSS 2006), Zach Pozun (PGSS 2002) and Karen Van Dusen (PGSS 1982--the first year) who spent considerable time at CMU helping Director Barry Luokkala with the categorizing and initial screening of the 515 applications that were received for PGSS 2013. Some even returned for the final screening. They were essential to the process, and Barry says he couldn't have done it without them. Our volunteers make a difference.
In late 2011, 593 of the 2378 PGSS alumni responded to a survey about their PGSS experience. The survey collected information on their level of education, occupation, whether they were in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field, and how much PGSS impacted their interest in science and desire to study/work in STEM fields. The results of that survey have been compiled and were presented at an Engineering Education conference in August 2012. The paper that accompanied that presentation is available here.
The authors of the paper, Ben Campbell and Robert Nickl, would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey, and especially Janet Hurwitz for her extensive help in locating missing alumni.
Dear Professor Luokkala:
Congratulations to all responsible for the reinstatement of the Governor's School for the Sciences! This is a classic example of an effective private sector response to public shortcomings - all to the benefit of talented Pennsylvania high school science students, And all in the spirit of the Ben Franklin Partnership which we pioneered in the 1980s and continues to be an important component of Pennsylvania's economic growth and the creation of more future-oriented employment opportunities in our state.
Please share this message with others who contributed to this effort. Well done!
Governor of Pennsylvania, 1979-87
Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends of PGSS:
We have a lot to celebrate this year, with the imminent return of PGSS in 2013! We’d also like you to consider PGSS as you plan your holiday gift-giving. This letter reviews our progress to date, and describes our plans for the future.
Over the past three years, we have succeeded in a most important team project: the restoration of PGSS. This
project has included the following milestones:
- Organizing PGSS Campaign, Inc. as a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
- Locating 85% of our 2400 alumni, and many of their parents.
- Collecting over $150,000 in donations from these individuals.
- Arranging successful alumni reunions: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco.
- Meeting with Governor Thomas Corbett and Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis.
- Meeting with a number of key legislative leaders in Pennsylvania.
- Hiring Maureen Ryan as our Executive Director in Pittsburgh.
- Gaining formal recognition as an Education Improvement Organization, making corporate donors eligible for Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program.
- Receiving our first corporate grants, so far totalling $35,000, with a number of other applications pending with Pennsylvania businesses.
- Ultimately, restoring PGSS for 2013!
We’re also pleased to announce that Professor Barry Luokkala will return as Program Director for next summer’s program at Carnegie Mellon University, guaranteeing the high quality we’ve come to expect from this program PGSS website
. We’re also hopeful that some of our 2008 alumni, who will be graduating from college this year, will choose to become TA/Counselors for the new students, providing connections with previous years’ programs. One of our goals has always been to preserve the institutional memory of the program, so that we can take advantage of all that we’ve learned over 25 years of PGSS, even as we improve it for the future.
To review our good news, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has awarded Carnegie Mellon University a $150,000 grant to operate PGSS in 2013 and 2014. This will provide half of the required funds for a 56-student program; PGSS Campaign, Inc. will be matching those funds with our fundraising dollars. We’ve secured a $20,000 charitable donation from Teva Pharmaceuticals and another $15,000 grant from PPG Industries Foundation. We’d like to give special thanks to alumni Kevin Bancroft (‘05) and Justin Mercer (‘01) for helping to lobby their employer, PPG, on our behalf! Maureen Ryan, our Executive Director, is working to cultivate additional grants from corporations with a presence in Pennsylvania.
These donations are terrific news, showing that we have successfully managed to communicate the value of PGSS to state government as well as to corporate grantors. One reason we’ve been so successful is that we’ve been able to point to the $150,000 already donated to our campaign by over 400 alumni and friends; this generous support from individuals who’ve benefited from the program is a strong positive signal to others of the value of this program. We need to continue to raise substantial funds through individual gifts as part of our long-run fundraising strategy, both for the direct support of the program budget and for the indirect impact it has on our probability of raising corporate and government funds.
The end of the year is a perfect time to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to PGSS Campaign, Inc. We ask you to remember the benefits you received from the program, and “pay it forward” to future students. One key principle we’re passionate about is that the program should remain free of charge to admitted students, to create a spirit of community and inclusiveness for students whose financial means would otherwise not have allowed them to attend. We are creating a culture of giving among this community, so that alumni and parents with means can express their appreciation for the program by making it possible for future students to attend. We will welcome 56 new students in 2013; we are hoping to increase this number in 2014 and beyond. A gift of $5000 will make it possible for one more student to attend PGSS.
Please give what you are able. I have just written my own check for $10,000 to PGSS Campaign, and I’m pleased to say that my employer (Google) will be matching this with an additional $6000. We don’t expect everyone to produce this kind of donation, of course, but I do want everyone to know that I’m continuing to put my own money where my mouth is. This program has meant a lot to me.
As an additional incentive to give a gift of $100 or more, the first eight donations of this size will receive one of our remaining XL t-shirts proclaiming “A Moment of Science!” (I wore my new PGSS t-shirt proudly to yoga class this week.)
PGSS Campaign, Inc.
161 West Hills Drive
Williamsport PA 17701
If your employer is interested in supporting STEM education and might consider making a donation to the program, please contact Maureen Ryan at <email@example.com
On behalf of Maureen and the Board of Directors PGSS Campaign, Inc., we wish you a very joyous holiday season. We’re proud to have you in our community.
David Reiley (PGSS 1986; TA 1989, 1991)
President, PGSS Campaign
P.S. Special thanks to our Secretary, Janet Hurwitz, for her tireless efforts, week after week, to make sure that PGSS gets back in business. Including making sure that I managed to finish this year-end letter!
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Education has approved a matching grant of $150,000 for the re-opening of PGSS at Carnegie Mellon University, under the expert direction of Professor Barry Luokkala in the summer of 2013. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends of PGSS, as well as generous corporate donors, the PGSS Campaign will be matching that $150,000. Please find the details and link to the application at http://www-pgss.mcs.cmu.edu
On Saturday October 13, 2012, a group of Boston govvies met at the MIT Museum for a self-guided tour, followed by drinks at the Miracle of Science. The robots, gadgets and drinks fueled much fellowship and discussion. The group came to consensus that the Boston area alumni needed to be more active, that is, expand our social and networking opportunities, and have committed to trying to get together every few months. We decided that there should be an "opt-in" for Boston area alumni to make their contact information visible to other Boston area alumni in the area. The responses to the request to "opt-in" have been great, and we are working to get that list together and out soon.
Also, we will work to have another informal gathering, after the holidays, perhaps on a weeknight, which will be open to all Boston area alums, "out" or "bcc"d! Stay tuned!
If you would like to be included on the Boston-area list, please send your contact information to Jen at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have been in overdrive this summer to raise funds to revive PGSS for next year, and our efforts have paid off! This week brought some exciting news… a generous donor has pledged to provide a grant to Carnegie Mellon University specifically for PGSS in the amount of $150,000 for each of the 2013 and 2014 program years... PROVIDED THAT WE MATCH THOSE FUNDS.
This new pledge is thrilling news. Our total fundraising goal is $360,000 to re-launch the program with 50 students. We have submitted over $175,000 in funding requests from Pennsylvania corporations and foundations, and we are optimistic that some fraction of these pending requests will be granted. If we can raise just $30,000 more in alumni contributions, thus triggering the $150,000 match, we are confident that PGSS 2013 will happen.
But why stop at $30,000? We have set ourselves an ambitious fall fundraising goal of $100,000 by October 7. The first $30,000 will get us to the matching threshold, the next $60,000 will completely cover funding for a basic program in 2013 (even if none of our grants come through), and the last $10,000 will get us started on our fundraising for 2014. We're expecting to run the program in both years, but we can only do it with continued alumni support. Raising a total of $360,000 will fund a program with 50 students; we can push the total higher with additional gifts. After we've funded the basic program fixed costs, each additional $4000 we raise can send an additional student to PGSS!
LET'S GO VIRAL!
Donate through our campaign at www.indiegogo.com/pgss
and remember to “Like” and “Share” our page with your Facebook and Twitter friends and followers. The more we spread the news, the more donations we’ll get!! Each donation also comes with a cool gift! The Indiegogo site will only be open until October 7th, so make your donation now!
As alumni, we all remember how exhilarating it was to be truly challenged by our physics homework, working all night on our team project presentations, and of course, what exceptional square dancers we were. You know the significance of PGSS, the personal and academic experiences you had during your program year, the value of the program in launching you into the college of your choice, and the personal relationships you still maintain with classmates to this day. We’re almost there…. but we need your help! Please take a few moments to review the options for making a donation today to restore PGSS so that future students can take advantage of the same opportunities we enjoyed!
Again….WE’RE ALMOST THERE….let’s get together and round up the remaining funds we need. PLEASE MAKE YOUR DONATION TODAY!!
President, PGSS Campaign, Inc.
P.S. If you work for a major corporation, you may qualify for employer gift matching. Make your donation count twice as much by donating through an Employee Matching Gift Program!! Contact Maureen Ryan, our Executive Director, at <email@example.com
> if you need any documentation of our nonprofit status.
Saturday, October 13, at 2 P.M. at the MIT Museum. We will spend an hour or so looking at the exhibits, and then go grab a beer at the Miracle of Science or the Aasgard.
Please RSVP by September 21, end of day so we can call the Museum make the final arrangements.
RSVP to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Jen Zarutskie Sieczkiewicz
We had a wonderful time at the Philadelphia PGSS Reunion! Beverly Jogan and Betsy Lopez (both PGSS 1997) hosted the event, which was held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania on June 16, 2012.
About 25 alumni attended, some reconnecting with former classmates, and others meeting new friends. We watched PGSS program videos, browsed through the published journals from the 80s, and enjoyed sharing memories. Everyone was excited to express their ideas for bringing back PGSS, including former program director Dr. Peter Berget, who was kind enough to attend and show his support.
If you are interested in attending or helping to organize future events in Philly, please email email@example.com. Thanks to everyone who came!