SMASH Academy Prepares for New Site Launch at UC Davis

Oakland, CA (March 24, 2016) – In a partnership between the University of California, Davis, and the Level Playing Field Institute (LPFI), the Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy will be hosted on the UC Davis campus this summer June 25 – July 30. Thirty students are expected to participate in the inaugural class. UC Davis will be the fourth host university for LPFI’s signature program, joining the UC Berkeley and Stanford University in the Bay Area and UCLA in Southern California.

The SMASH Academy is a free-of-cost, STEM-intensive residential college preparatory program targeting 9th grade high school students from traditionally underrepresented communities interested in pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. US News and World Report has called the SMASH Academy “perhaps the most ambitious program to encourage African American and Latino students in STEM fields.” Accepted applicants have the opportunity to take rigorous science and math classes that will supplement their learning during the academic year and be exposed to computer science and engineering design coursework as well.

“UC Davis advocates for academic outreach programs that will enrich the lives of underrepresented youth in our greater Sacramento community,” says Walter Robinson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management in Student Affairs at UC Davis. “We are proud to host SMASH Academy this upcoming summer and look forward to creating impactful change that will help develop the collegiate pipeline of high-achieving students of color in STEM.”

“Underrepresented students of color will not strive for careers in STEM if they are not exposed to STEM in school and if they do not see people who look like them in the field. This industry needs the perspectives and experiences of these scholars. ” says Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute. “SMASH provides access to these crucial resources in addition to rigorous STEM coursework to help scholars compete with their more privileged peers. I look forward to seeing the impact it will have for the students in the greater Sacramento community.”

The 2016 application period has closed. Rising 9th graders interested in SMASH UC Davis 2017 can apply Fall 2016. Local organizations and entities can support and get involved with the program in various ways, such as fundraising, mentoring and networking during the summer and year round. If interested in learning more about or partnering with SMASH UC Davis, please visit

SMASH requires a serious, three-summer commitment from its scholars, but the payoff is huge. Since 2004, SMASH has achieved tremendous student results:

  • 100% of SMASH students graduate from high school; 100% attend college—92% attend 4-year College/University of which 47% attend “Top 50” Highest-Ranked Universities; 8% attend 2-year colleges
  • 74% declared STEM majors as freshmen—by comparison, only 23% of all U.S. college freshmen declare STEM majors
  • 83% of SMASH alumni who declared STEM majors as freshmen persisted in STEM major beyond year 3 of college (current seniors)


Founded in 2001 by Freada Kapor-Klein, Level Playing Field Institute ( is committed to eliminating the barriers faced by underrepresented people of color in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and fostering their untapped talent for the advancement of our nation.

Founded in 1908, UC Davis is one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary research and teaching institutions. Deliberate in developing strategies and resources for serving underrepresented students and a diverse community, UC Davis also aspires to become a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by fall 2018-19. UC Davis offers a variety of services for students through undergraduate admissions, K-12 outreach and STEM support.