In 2011 Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) celebrated its 200th anniversary. As one of many important activities to mark this occasion, MGH renewed its commitment to the local community by creating the MGH Bicentennial Scholars Program, a birthday “gift” to the young people of Boston, Chelsea and Revere. The MGH Bicentennial Scholars Program supports college completion for youth who are interested in health and science careers, and is coordinated by the MGH Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI).

Background:

As the largest private employer in Boston, MGH has provided educational opportunities for youth for more than 20 years through science fair mentoring, paid internships for high school students and its annual summer jobs program. Through CCHI, MGH has recently expanded these opportunities to serve youth in grades 3-college with a focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Compared to other urban areas, Boston public school students have high rate (70 percent) of admission to two- and four-year post-secondary education. However, their rates of college completion are low. Only 41 percent of the class of 2003 had graduated six years later.

The evidence indicates that to succeed in college, youth need not only financial assistance, but also college preparation, peer support, mentoring, tutoring and jobs. The MGH Bicentennial Scholars Program encompasses all of these components.

 The MGH Bicentennial Scholars Program:

The 26 MGH Bicentennial Scholars have graduated from the high school class of 2012. All have been provided with the intense college planning and SAT preparation needed to select their current college. In addition, students have participated in paid internships and will continue to do so through their college years as a way to further explore the fields of health care and STEM and to develop important skills that will help them to be successful in school and work. Each student receives a $5,000 scholarship each year they are enrolled in the program.

Lastly, keeping students in college requires more than just financial support. That’s why the Bicentennial Scholar students are connected to on-campus tutoring, mentoring, peer support and college jobs that work around the students’ class and exam schedules.