Educational Pathways Into College & Career
More than 250 high school students will receive school credit while participating in a school-based summer program that uses a linked learning model to integrate the science and engineering of solar power technology with service learning, and mathematics.
Educational Pathways Into College and Career is a multi-faceted summer program designed to equip students from low-performing schools, low-income families and ethnic/racial groups underrepresented in STEM fields with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to succeed in STEM majors and pursue STEM-related careers. Students, through the course of learning about innovative technologies, will develop a project that can transform the lives of a community. During the summer program, students will build real solar electric systems that are designed to perform for many years, and will learn about electricity, energy, system design (engineering); they will experiment with solar technologies and have the opportunity to modify the loads, power production, and energy storage of the systems. Students will send the solar electric systems they build to schools or orphanages in developing countries where they will be the only source of electricity for the school or orphanage, a source of power that is sustainable, easily maintained, and renewable. The summer program will incorporate interdisciplinary mathematics, problem solving, critical thinking and communication to promote STEM literacy and 21st century skills, thereby strengthening students' readiness for STEM majors and careers. This project will also include a research component that will study the best ways to integrate career technical education and service learning into STEM learning, providing a better understanding of how different elements of the program influence student outcomes.
This project is a collaboration involving multiple organizations, including the Lawrence Hall of Science at University of California, Berkeley (The Hall), Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), We Care Solar, East Bay College Fund, and the Aspire program. OUSD has recently incorporated science learning as a key element of its strategic plan. We Care Solar is a non-profit organization that provides small-scale solar energy systems to hospitals, orphanages, and schools in the developing world where the lack of electricity, especially at night, often contributes to high mortality and low achievement rates. East Bay College Fund is a community-based non-profit organization that provides scholarships, mentoring ongoing college counseling and life skills training to public high school students from low income families and communities with historically low college enrollment and graduation rates. The Aspire Education Project is an East Bay non-profit organization that provides academic support tutoring to all students regardless of economic status to improve their academic performance, standardized test scores, and college readiness.