College and Career Days in Pittsburgh!

 Higher Achievement closes the opportunity gap for middle school students by exposing them to the world of work and post-secondary education options during  Summer Academy. In addition to our 3-day/2-night, college experience for our 6th – 8th graders held at Indiana University of Pennsylvania this year, corporate and higher education friends around Pittsburgh hosted our scholars on our College and Career Field Trip Day. So, what did our scholars experience?

Our 5th graders visited Chatham University. Scholars toured the campus and learned about what they need to achieve to be admitted. Chatham University is a new higher education partner with Higher Achievement and now offers our achievement centers as a place for their education majors to complete observations!

Pittsburgh Summer 2

Higher Achievement 6th graders completed their mock trials at the Pittsburgh Federal Courthouse thanks to a partnership with U.S. Attorney David Hickton’s office. (Thanks, Ms. Tamara!) Staff attorneys shared their educational journeys, discussed careers available in the legal field, and observed and provided feedback on the trials. The volunteers said they were the best mock trials ever!

Pittsburgh Summer 3

Google partnered with Higher Achievement to offer a field trip for our 7th graders to experience their really cool office environment. A scholar queried, “What do I need to do to work here?” The Google staff person responded, “Google looks for individuals who are flexible, creative problem-solvers, love to learn, have curiosity, communicate well with others, and can clearly explain why they think their solution will work but won’t get upset if they’re wrong. It can be hard to get used to making mistakes—but mistakes are an important part of the process of problem-solving.” Our scholars work on all these traits throughout Summer and Afterschool Academies so they are on the right path for careers like those available at Google!

Pittsburgh Summer 4

McKinsey & Company developed a curriculum in partnership with Higher Achievement staff that took scholars through the problem-solving process that professional consultants use to help their clients improve how their organizations function. This Summer Academy curriculum for our 8th graders culminated in a field trip to McKinsey’s downtown Pittsburgh office where they presented their recommendations for improvements in Higher Achievement to the McKinsey & Company team. Shout out to Board Member Chris Leech for connecting us with this opportunity!

If you would like to offer opportunities to experience your career/field to our diverse group of scholars, contact Wendy Etheridge Smith at to discuss hosting a field trip. Opportunities matter!