IT and College Pathways through Application of Technology to Explore Urban Ecological Challenges
A pathway to STEM careers and college for inner-city high school students is built around the use of cutting-edge geospatial and computer modeling to investigate pressing urban ecological problems in their neighborhood. The work in a previous ITEST grant that demonstrated an increase in student self-efficacy and interest in science is expanded to integrate career discernment, college preparation, and engagement with innovative technologies. With a project team that includes a counseling psychologist, an educational researcher, a science educator, an urban ecologist, an environmental lawyer and a cross-cultural educator, the project designs an innovative program and conducts research on both the design of the program and on student career discernment. The students meet on selected Saturdays and after school during the school year. They receive a stipend to attend a three week summer program. Students remain in the program for three years working on projects of increasing sophistication in urban ecology. Parents and care givers are integrated into the program by having them engage in similar activities to understand the nature of STEM related careers. Partnerships with the College Bound program and with two industries ensure sustainability and that students understand the workplace and have access to innovative technologies.