OC Register, "Lecture series links Santa Ana students, scholars"

Dr. Michael Shermer is shown here with Giovanny Diaz and Roberto Servin.Fernando Martinez sent us the following story:

Santa Ana Unified School District students attending the Nicholas Academic Centers recently attended a presentation on “The Believing Brain,” given by Dr. Michael Shermer.

The lecture is a part of the Nicholas Academic Center’s Visiting Scholars Series, a partnership with Chapman University.

Since the program was launched in 2010, hundreds of students have been exposed to a college academic environment that explores a variety of academic topics while preparing them for college.

Shermer’s lecture challenged students to critically analyze how belief systems are built and reinforced within society.

Student Katherine Mitchell stated that the Saturday lecture helped her “use critical thinking in everyday life, in what people tell you, trying to sort out lies,” adding that it also helped reinforce the idea that “It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’ about a certain topic when one is not sure.”

The Nicholas Academic Center’s Chapman Lecture series is part of the center’s yearly programs that target and prepare SAUSD students for college.

The centers were established in 2008 by Dr. Henry Nicholas, co-founder and former co-chairman, president and CEO of Broadcom Corporation and retired Orange County Superior Court Judge Jack Mandel.

Over the last two years the program has graduated over 150 students. One hundred percent of NAC seniors have gone on to college, compared to 61 percent for Hispanic high school students nationwide, and 96 percent of NAC graduates who attend four-year colleges are still enrolled, with many excelling academically.
By contrast, according to the College Board, national sophomore retention rates for all students are less than 80 percent, and only 46.8 percent of Hispanic college students graduate within six years.

The Nicholas Academic Centers and Chapman University will hold the next lecture on Saturday, March 3. The event is free and open to the public.

Fernando Martinez is director of academic services for Nicholas Academic Center II.

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