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Saturday Academy series touts health sciences careers

a College of Pharmacy student leads a demonstration for Saturday Academy participants


During the first half of the 2023-2024 academic year, University of Utah Health Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion organized a series of near-peer-mentored workshops for students grades 4-12. Collectively known as Saturday Academy, these workshops, in collaboration with multiple academic institutions with a focus on the health sciences, such as the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine, the College of Nursing, and the College of Health to organize a sequence of four events aimed at providing unfiltered and guided access to mentors, staff, faculty, and facilities to students with an interest in health sciences career exploration. The Saturday Academy events attracted 438 participants, averaging 109 attendees per session. Notably, 13.5% of these individuals demonstrated sustained engagement by attending subsequent events.

Insights gleaned from similar initiatives within the University of Utah Health domain underscore the connection between consistent participation across multiple events and enhanced academic outcomes, particularly regarding college completion and pursuing advanced degrees. Among the collective population of 438 was a secondary cohort of 59 students who displayed dedication by attending multiple sessions; a substantial 50% participated in more than two events. Furthermore, within this secondary cohort, 62% self-identified as female, 22% as Black or African American, and 20% as Latino or Hispanic. This cohort's event attendance distribution is as follows: 59.3% participated in two events, 33.8% in three events, and 6.9%in all four events.

Additionally, it is noteworthy to observe a significant demographic representation among Saturday Academy participants. Specifically, a notable proportion identified as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), constituting 48%. This exceeds the overall BIPOC percentage within the Utah population (20.5%) and the BIPOC representation among University of Utah students (36.5%). Furthermore, the gender demographic within Saturday Academy participants demonstrates a noticeable predominance of women, comprising 57% of the total cohort, compared to 49% in the non-Saturday Academy University of Utah student body.

Percentages based on total participation, n=438

Race and Hispanic Origin Saturday Academy University of Utah Salt Lake County Utah
Black or African American alone, percent





American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent





Asian alone, percent





Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent





Hispanic or Latino, percent





University of Utah data taken from Data USA. Salt Lake County and Utah data taken from US Census.

Chris Harris, MBA

Mar 11, 2024 9:20 AM