STAR Program girlsIn continuing efforts to reach out to academically talented and underrepresented minorities and young women, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions hosted the annual Science, Technology, Arts, and Architecture at Rensselaer (STAR) Program Oct. 24-26.

In its 10th year, the program provides high school seniors with an opportunity to get a glimpse of campus life at Rensselaer through a variety of programs, including attending classes with student hosts; leadership and team-building training with the Archer Center for Student Leadership Development; panel discussions with students; informational sessions on admissions, financial aid, and student life; and cultural offerings, tours, and dinners.

This year, 127 students representing 25 states participated in the program.

STAR Program - Dr. Jackson

President Shirley Ann Jackson

In welcome remarks to the students, titled “It Is Never Too Early To Start Thinking About Changing the World,” President Shirley Ann Jackson noted that there are three significant reasons why the students’ presence at Rensselaer is important.

“When we say, ‘Why not change the world,’ we mean it,” President Jackson said. “So your being here is important in a cosmic sense. Your academic achievements suggest that you, too, have got what it takes to change the world. And we want to make sure you begin to think about improving lives and protecting the planet without delay.

“The second reason your visit to Rensselaer really matters is slightly smaller, but still expansive: You are essential to the economic competitiveness of the United States,” President Jackson added. “Given the demands of our high-tech economy—and strong projected job growth in science and engineering fields—we are not educating enough scientists and engineers in the United States. In China, for example, 31 percent of all first university degrees are in engineering. In the United States, the equivalent figure is 4 percent. In the meantime, the scientists and engineers of my generation are beginning to retire, and we simply do not have enough young people in the pipeline to take their place.

STAR Program car

High school seniors got a glimpse of campus life at Rensselaer.

“I call this “The Quiet Crisis,” and you are part of the solution,” President Jackson said. “On a national level, we must inspire more women and minorities, who today are not well represented in many science and engineering disciplines, to study these fields. We need to do better by brilliant young men and women like you. And if you attend Rensselaer, we will do everything possible to support you on the way to a scientific or technological career. “The third reason your presence here is important? It may very well change your life,” President Jackson said. “If you apply and are accepted here, you will find that a Rensselaer education is transformative.”

“The STAR program continues to expand our outreach to underrepresented minority students,” said Michael Moore, associate director of admissions and director of the multicultural recruitment program. “The program provides rising seniors with a greater opportunity to explore their options in engineering and the sciences, and over the years we have seen a marked increase in the number of students that express interest in participating in the program.”

Beyond academic and information sessions, the visiting students also had the opportunity to attend a dinner and reception with members of the campus community, along with a series of social events including the Pride of Africa program hosted by the African and Caribbean Students Association, a Rensselaer Union student organization fair, a showcase of Rensselaer performing arts groups, and a Black Students Alliance party.

To read President Jackson’s speech, go to