Pacific University Invites Youth to "Touch the Future" on Tuesday, April 22

Local teenagers will have an opportunity to learn about careers in healthcare.

Local teenagers will have an opportunity to learn about careers in healthcare on Tuesday, April 22 through a series of sessions at Pacific University's Hillsboro Campus (222 SE Washington Ave.). 

Presented by Pacific's Office of Diversity, Touch the Future is a daylong program aimed at introducing ethnic minorities and other first generation college candidates to all the possibilities higher education can foster. 

For the first time, with the co-sponsorship of the university's School of Pharmacy and in the spirit of National Minority Health Month, Touch the Future will have a health professions theme. Pacific faculty and students will show the teens how they can become healthcare providers through college programs.

Last October, more than 60 underrepresented students from Forest Grove, Hillsboro and Glencoe high schools got a firsthand look and feel of the overall college experience during the 14th annual Touch the Future fall program

"Touch the Future is a valuable experience for students who have never been exposed to a higher education setting or have never thought about the possibility of attending college," said Saideh Haghighi, director of the Hillsboro School District's Office of Equity and Human Resources. 

"It gives students a vision of what could be and provides them with an opportunity to imagine the possibility. For many, a personal transformation occurs over the course of the day long fieldtrip." 

Pacific University professors and support staff shared insight into the university's education and teaching, performing and visual arts, math and science, business and other programs. 

The teens benefited from a panel presentation, career-focused workshops and tips on how to prepare for college. 

"Touch the Future really demystifies college for our students who have little to no prior exposure to higher education," said Megan Van Zanten, a counselor at Forest Grove High School. 

"It is really a great community resource for local educators to show their students that college is a realistic option after high school." 

Haghighi was introduced to Touch the Future as a high school teacher several years ago and accompanied his students on several occasions.  "I’ve seen the impact one day can make on a student and I only wish more students had similar experiences throughout the year." 

Marla Lyle, a counselor at Hillsboro High School, agrees. "The students who attend this event more than likely have never stepped foot on a college campus," said Marla Lyle, a counselor at Hillsboro High School. "The exposure to a college campus alone can make a world of difference when it comes to the realities of a student desiring to go to college and figuring out how to get there." 

Lyle added that for many underrepresented students, Touch the Future opens a door they are not always shown. 

"This event gives first generation college students a hope that college can really happen for them," she said. "It makes it all feel real and that there are some great resources, like career centers and diversity programs, out there that they can access so that they do not feel so lost in the college admissions and financial aid processes." 

For more information on Touch the Future, please contact Alfonso Lopez-Vasquez at 503-352-1457.

Posted by Joe Lang ( on Mar 27, 2014 at 1:30 PM

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