Nearly 200 local high school students participated in science, technology, engineering and mathematics workshops as part of STEM Expo Day at Sonoma State University this summer.
As part of supplemental grants from the Department of Education’s Upward Bound program, on Friday, June 28, students were able to participate in a multitude of hands-on workshops and learn about circuitry, the physics of drones and even how to engineer a flashlight. According to Susan Wandling, senior director of Pre-Collegiate Programs, additional funds from the grant were used to host activities that build student interest and readiness for college majors and careers in STEM fields.
Shannon Smith, director of Upward Bound Lake and Mendocino programs, said her students loved the hands-on nature of the classes and that one of her students was “super excited to show his mom the flashlight he had made.”
The students were part of the seven Upward Bound programs in Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties that seek to provide opportunities for high school students from low-income families and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor's degree. The goal of Upward Bound is to increase the rate at which participants complete secondary education and enroll in and graduate from postsecondary education.
Kerry Jo Bourns, director of Upward Bound Sonoma and Napa programs, credits Eshawn Zuniga, fiscal and information specialist, for her “tireless efforts to bring this day together to make it an amazing success.” In addition to putting together the supplemental grant proposals, Eshawn developed the vision for STEM Day, and conducted coding workshops.
“Their excitement at the kick-off was palpable,” said Wandling. “Each student was assigned three workshops that align with their career interests. I am impressed with how well the Upward Bound staff organized this event and made sure it was a standout experience for the students.”
STEM Expo Day was held on the same day Sonoma State hosted hundreds of Sonoma County high school students for their graduation from the Mike Hausser Academy, a three-week immersive summer science, technology, engineering and math program sponsored by the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber. For more information, read about it on SSU News.