- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Students Embrace Science and Mathematics in Summer Program

New America Media, News report, Inga Buchbinder Posted: Jul 28, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. There are countless ways for high school students to spend their summers, and most include an activity that has nothing to do with school work. But Kevin Madrigal and James Lopez spent half of their summer taking classes in robotics and other sciences. At the end of their studies, they helped to build robotic automobiles.

Madrigal, 15, and Lopez, 16, are among a select group of 65 minority students from 50 Bay Area high schools chosen to participate in the Summer Math and Science Honors Academy, or SMASH.

SMASH is a five-week program that focuses on science, technology, engineering and math related studies (STEM). The students who participate in the program live in UC Berkeley housing and take rigorous courses in STEM fields. Founded by Freada Kapor Klein and Christina Feeny in 2004, SMASH encourages minority high school students to hone their skills before entering college.

The SMASH Academy takes place over the three summers after the freshman year in high school. Throughout those summers, the students have SAT prep available to them as well as a college counselor. There are also bilingual workshops taught in Spanish to encourage the parents to be a part of the process. Once theyve completed the program students receive $1,500 towards college.

I liked the challenge of math and was going for the harder stuff [in school], Madrigal, a second summer participant of SMASH, said. After two years [in the program] its intense, the tests are challenging, but its a good opportunity.

SMASH focuses on science and math because Klein believes that STEM careers will keep the country alive through troubled times. Those are the areas that have a need for employees from the United States, Klein said.

This summer, the focus of the program was on the environment, because its such a hot button issue. The STEM curriculum is comprehensive to include science writing so that the students are as well rounded as possible. Many of the courses are very hands-on, such as testing the pH balance of the water in Strawberry Creek.

Lopezs brother was in SMASH and he saw that it took up most of his brothers summer.
But it helps for the future and prepares me for high school classes [next year], Lopez said.

SMASH_summer_schoolHe also said it helped him learn how to adequately manage his time because in college you cant depend on your parents to manage your time.

The SMASH Academy encourages students to apply to top-ranked universities in California and beyond, and to expand their idea of what is possible for their future. Many of the mentors, teachers and RAs in the dorms are minority undergraduate, graduate and PhD. students.
It allows the students to see what five and 10 years ahead of them looks like, Klein said, and shows them the large variety of options their have for their future.

Gladys Cortez, 16, a first summer participant in the program, said that her brother was part of another similar academic program, which inspired her to apply to SMASH.

I wanted to do something better and different so when I apply to college I will stand out, Gomez said.

For their final project, which was displayed at the event on Saturday, Cortez and her partner Aneesa Phelps, 15, researched how genetically modified organisms were affecting the food supply in third world countries.

Phelps applied to the program because her math teacher and school counselor saw how advanced her math skills were and thought it would help her get ahead in the field. She was the only student in her school to make it into the program.

SMASH encourages students who already have an interest in these areas to pursue their talents and to use them not for just creating video games but using their knowledge to affect society in a positive way, Jarvis Sulcer, the director of educational programs at LPFI, said. Sulcer said he hoped students who participated in the SMASH would be competitive and have the confidence and skills necessary to be successful.

Related Articles:

How Will the University of California Survive?

Autism School Gives Hope to Immigrant Families

No Access: SF State Cuts Off Admission for Spring 2010

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage