Preuss School junior Miriam Million has an endless curiosity and a passion for learning. Her father fled the violence and instability of political unrest in Ethiopia, determined to reach America. In the United States, he created a new life for his wife and three-year-old daughter, establishing education as a central family value.
Now Miriam Million is among the top twenty in her class: a student leader of a variety of extracurricular activities, a dedicated volunteer at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, and a Bezos Scholar. She and Anne Artz, a Preuss School science teacher, were selected for the 2010 Bezos Scholars program, which brought twelve of the nation’s top public high school juniors and twelve of the most engaged educators together for a weeklong seminar designed to encourage dialogue, innovation, community involvement, and global awareness at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado.
Artz began teaching twenty-one years ago and has been at The Preuss School for five years. Her dedication to students goes well beyond the classroom: she chaperones school dances at night, often spends her Saturdays at conferences getting resources for the school, and even takes her students on nature walks on weekends. She is convinced that given the right environment, all students can and will succeed.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Artz and Million engaged in debates, presentations, and panel discussions led by global leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, and creative artists. A global forum for leadership and open-minded dialogue, the festival fosters talk about today’s most pressing topics, from scientific breakthroughs to approaches to education. This is the second consecutive year that Bezos Scholars have been selected from The Preuss School. Last year, Principal Scott Barton and junior Paul Tran achieved that honor.
The Preuss School at UC San Diego is a middle and high school dedicated to providing intensive college-preparatory education for motivated low-income students who will become the first in their families to graduate from college. Every year, graduates go on to prestigious universities, including many University of California campuses, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Million plans to attend medical school and to participate in Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which would enable her to return to Africa to help the people of Ethiopia.
School’s in for career changers and adult learners seeking an advantage in their current fields. As an industry, adult education was one of the few that saw job growth in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In 2010, 26,000 Extension students took 4,900 courses.
UC San Diego Extension, the continuing education and public programs arm of the university, experienced a 2 percent enrollment increase in 2010 with a record 56,000 enrollees—or 26,000 students taking 4,900 courses. As a division that is 100 percent self-funded with no state support, Extension will continue to forge partnerships with community organizations and client businesses to fuel its projected 33 percent growth over the next five years. Extension attracts more than $35 million annually through fees, contracts, and grants.
Extension offers approximately 125 distinct academic programs ranging from the life sciences and engineering to arts and business leadership. With U.S. unemployment at a twenty-five-year high, Extension is expanding offerings in higher-demand employment areas, including