The Oncofertility Saturday Academy: A paradigm to expand the educational opportunities and ambitions of high school girls

Megan Faurot*, Teresa K Woodruff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Women of all races and ethnicities remain underrepresented in science. Attrition of women along the educational and career trajectory or science pipeline occurs at every transition period at a higher rate than men. The science pipeline has been identified to begin during the transition period between high school and college because it is at this stage when a student makes key decisions that will lead to an academic degree and career in science. To strategically combat the attrition between high school and college, the Oncofertility Saturday Academy (OSA) program was developed between a high school (Young Women's Leadership Charter School of Chicago) and a university (Northwestern University). OSA is composed of basic science and clinical experiences designed to make the high school curriculum more relevant and to empower more high school girls to become the next generation of women to achieve excellence and leadership in science. Using a sequence of challenging, thematic modules offered to high school juniors, seniors, and college students, OSA offers young women the opportunity to explore basic science research, clinical applications, and career options of multiple science disciplines. To make the learning experiences relevant and applicable to the girls' lives, there is a focused concentration on women's health throughout the entire program. To support the girls through this sequence of experiences, members from both the high school and university communities are actively involved in a synergistic science mentor and support network to foster more girls who are interested in science during the transition period between high school and college. The members of this network provide a wide range of support including role modeling, mentoring, and advising. The program has successfully transitioned high school girls uncertain of their future goals to college students with science-related majors and has the potential to be replicated at other high schools nationwide. Providing parent education, cultivating parent-student communication, and building tools to support their daughters' successes is also a critical part of the program. The expectation is that OSA will contribute to an increased pipeline of young women entering into and being retained in scientific disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOncofertility
Subtitle of host publicationEthical, Legal, Social, and Medical Perspectives
Editorsteresa Woodruff, Sarah Rodriguez, Lisa Campo-Engelstein, Laurie Zoloth
Number of pages24
StatePublished - Sep 13 2010

Publication series

NameCancer Treatment and Research
ISSN (Print)0927-3042

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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