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SAIL Summer Camp Kids Explore College...and Cadavers?

Franziska Monahan

The University of Oregon’s Summer Academy to Inspire Learning camp, known as SAIL, provides middle and high school students from underrepresented backgrounds a glimpse of what college life can look like.

Danny Nielsen is an incoming junior at Churchill High School. He shows me how the tendons of the hand and arm move the fingers…on a real human cadaver.

"Your tendon connects up from your fingertips and it's not easy with all of them but on this one you can see the ring finger curls up," Nielsen explains.

He’s a participant in this year’s SAIL Physics and Human Physiology program for juniors. SAIL brought around 350 local would-be first generation college students to the UO campus for two weeks to explore various fields of study. Right now we’re in the UO cadaver lab. Raymond Stone is a junior at the Willamette Leadership Academy. He says the program has helped him visualize a potential career path.

"I was thinking about becoming an EMT. This is definitely putting me more in the right direction towards that,' says Stone.

Attendance is completely free. Students can choose from subjects as varied as Product Design and Scandinavian languages. Professors volunteer their time. Donations cover most other costs – like pay for staff and councilors, many of whom are former SAIL campers themselves. Last year out of 40 graduating SAIL high school seniors, 34 went to four-year colleges.

To learn more about SAIL summer and academic year programs, visit their website.