Marilyn Winkleby, MPH, Ph.D., President and CEO of Access to Achievement Education Foundation, is a nationally known expert in youth education. In 1988 she founded the highly successful Stanford Medical Youth Science Program (SMYSP) with two undergraduate pre-med students, which has become a national model for pre-college science education. As Faculty Director of SMYSP, she has worked with schools and educational programs, reaching out to low-income and under-represented minority high school students. She has mentored hundreds of students—students who when given the opportunity to achieve their potential go on to complete college and become leaders in their respective professions.

SMYSP’s long-term evaluation outcomes are impressive; of the over 700 high students who have participated in the residential summer pipeline program, 81% have completed a 4-year college degree, and among these students almost half have continued on to graduate or medical school. Dr. Winkleby’s  book, Healing Journeys: Teaching Medicine, Nurturing Hope, co-authored with Julia Steele with a foreword by Dr. David Satcher, and a documentary film, Opportunity of a Lifetime, demonstrate the transformations that happen when youth are afforded the chance to excel.

In 2011, SMYSP received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government for mentoring in these fields. (see In addition, Dr. Winkleby has authored many peer-reviewed articles, including those in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Academic Medicine, and the Journal of Community Medicine and Health Education.

Access to Achievement builds on the years of experience Dr. Winkleby gained from SMYSP in program planning, management, and evaluation. In addition, for 30 years as a Professor Medicine, she has directed a research team at Stanford University where she managed large government grants, oversaw financial accounts, and was responsible for sound financial oversight. She is known for her extensive knowledge of evaluation and program outcomes. This allows Access to Achievement to build  on the best practices of SMYSP, thus enabling students to successfully pursue their educations.