Annual Robert M. Smith Academy College Program Hosted By Pitt-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown

posted July 27, 2016


Robert M. Smith Academy Real World College Readiness Program's 2016 attendees

Three-Day Event Emphasizes Real World Readiness

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s second annual Robert M. Smith Academy Real World College Readiness Program for local high school students was held from July 25-27, 2016.

Robert Smith Academy

A cohort of seven students from Greater Johnstown, Somerset, and Westmont Hilltop high schools were selected. The goal of the annual platform is to prepare the cohort for their upcoming transition to college by exposing them to the elements of the collegiate experience.

The Real World College Readiness Program is built on the foundation of Pitt-Johnstown’s signature Real World Action Program, which promotes civic engagement, leadership, and service to community. Students participated in a three-day residential college experience at Pitt-Johnstown at no cost to the students during the summer between the junior and senior year.

The first day highlighted career, academic and community engagement. On the second day, the group traveled to Pittsburgh for a museum and cultural tour. The third day’s activities returned to campus with an emphasis on discussions about values and ethics, group activities, an exploration of college life, how to apply for college, and how to set goals and take action toward achieving them.

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar said, “We are excited about the Real World College Readiness Program as it is a chance for local high school students to be inspired to attend and complete college, to have the opportunity to learn skills that will increase their chances of success, and to participate in a pre-orientation to college. Ultimately, our goal is to prepare students for college, set them on a pathway to graduation and success in the real world.”

During their time on campus, students learned about the college application process and financial aid opportunities, participated in a community service project and team building activities, built leadership and communication skills, focused on values and ethical decision-making, explored career opportunities, as well as created goals and personal action plans for their futures. 

The program attendees were: Kayla Leventry, Lauren Spanko and Kaylee Jo Streightiff of Greater Johnstown; Carly Engleka, Emily Hay and Colin Weigle of Somerset; and Lauren Criswell of Westmont Hilltop.

As the Academy cohort moves throughout the academic year, additional opportunities will be made available by Pitt-Johnstown, including dual enrollment, accelerated admission, and intensive advising, as well as other support.


Robert M. Smith was a successful business leader and a strong supporter of the communities in which he lived and worked. Mr. Smith made provisions in his will to create endowed funds that now provide scholarships for graduates of Greater Johnstown, Somerset Area, and Westmont Hilltop High Schools who attend Pitt-Johnstown.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania, was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been presented with The Seven Seals Award by the US Department of Defense’s office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR). Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World. The distinctive combination of our people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success.