The official biography below was current at the time of the award. See the organization’s website for its latest information.
SMILE serves Native American, Hispanic American and other economically disadvantaged youth in grades 4-12 through hands-on experiences in science and mathematics. Weekly meetings with twenty students and two teachers are the backbone of the program. Students also participate in field trips and community projects with practicing scientists and engineers. SMILE began in 1988, serving 80 students in four middle schools. The program now serves more than 700 elementary, middle and high school students along with 70 teachers, in 39 schools. 85 percent (512) of students that participated in SMILE for more that one year graduated from high school. 98 percent of the SMILE class of 1998 continued on to college. The Oregon-based SMILE program has been successfully replicated in Rhode Island.