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camp goers working in Chemistry lab

Juntos Family Day inspires high schoolers with science

By Katharine de Baun

Second annual OSU Juntos Family Day

Approximately 1,400 Latino 8-12th graders and family members participated in the second annual OSU Juntos Family Day on Saturday, April 9, 2017. Designed to introduce students and their families to college life, Juntos Family Day includes a campus tour, vendor fair, career showcase, and workshops on the transition to college and financial aid, among other topics. The College of Science was a sponsor of the event and offered tours of six research labs in biochemistry, chemistry, and integrative biology as part of the day's events.

Sastry taking selfie with Juntos campers in lecture hall

Dean Sastry Pantula takes a group selfie on Juntos Family Day.

Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Science, welcomed a packed room full of Latino students and families who have an interest in science, inviting them all to become a part of the diverse "OneScience" community of chemists, biologists, physicists, mathematicians, microbiologists, statisticians and biochemists at Oregon State.

"Science is better when we have people from different fields, places, races, genders and sexual orientation. We are OneScience, a family working together on common goals to ensure a healthy future for our people, planet, and economy."

"What excites you?" Pantula asked the eager students. He assured them that he was committed to their success, and that science was a great path to follow.

"Science is where discoveries begin. A science education is a great foundation for many successful careers."

Chong Fang showing Juntos campers lab equipment

Chemist Chong Fang introduces Juntos students to his lab.

Juntos means "together" in Spanish. Juntos Family Day seeks to empower families around education. Uniting with community partners to provide culturally relevant programming for 8-12th grade students and their parents, Juntos is designed to provide families with knowledge, skills, and resources to prevent youth from dropping out of high school, and to encourage families to work together to gain access to college.

Juntos started in 2007 at North Carolina State University (NCSU). In 2012, Oregon State University brought the program to Oregon communities and Latino families to come together as a support group especially designed to motivate students to continue their education after graduating from High School. Juntos currently serves 13 Oregon counties and plans to expand further in 2017. In addition to Family Day, Juntos coordinates six-week workshop series with family involvement, after school clubs, and college visits.

In addition to Family Day, Juntos coordinates six-week workshop series with family involvement, after school clubs, and college visits.

To date, Juntos sites boast 100% high school graduation rates and 100% post-secondary access. We hope to see many of these talented students apply to Oregon State and the College of Science!