Alumni fundraising resurrects Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences

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The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences will enroll students this summer at Carnegie Mellon University, three years after state budget cuts prompted the Commonwealth to eliminate it and other governor's schools around the state.

An agreement between the state and Carnegie Mellon to offer the instruction has now been signed, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, Timothy Eller, said today.

Of the state's most promising high school students, 56 will be selected to attend the campus for five weeks beginning June 30 to study biology, chemistry, computer science, math and physics.

The instruction, intended for students who are in the summer before their senior year, is hosted by Carnegie Mellon's Mellon College of Science.

To pay for the program, an organization assembled by school alumni raised $150,000 from private and corporate sources to match a grant of the same amount by the state Department Education Department, officials said.

The application deadline for this summer's instruction has been extended until Feb. 15. Those selected for the June 30 through Aug. 3 program will receive full tuition and room and board.

"So many of the alumni have said that the Governor's School was life-changing," Barry Luokkala, teaching professor of physics at CMU and PGSS program director, said in an announcement released by the university. "They wanted the school back so that other students could have the same experience."

Every graduate of the program has gone on to college and nine out of 10 went on to careers in science, technology, engineering or math, university officials said.

Carnegie Mellon said undergraduate students are also being sought to work as resident advisors and teaching assistants.

Those seeking additional information can go to http://www-pgss.mcs.cmu.edu.

Mr. Eller said there are no plans at this point to bring back any of the other governor's schools that fell victim to the state's financial woes.

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Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1977.


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