Monday, August 15, 2011

Math, Science and Leadership at the Institute of Technology

On the week of Monday, July 25th 2011, the Institute of Technology held its Math, Science and Leadership program on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

We welcomed nearly 50 students from 7th through 12th grade for a week of robotics, environmental science and architecture. Highlights included field trips to visit the Center for Urban Waters on the Thea Foss Waterway and visits to the History and Art Museums that stretch along Pacific Avenue in Tacoma.

Each summer, the program provides a different experiential learning process which focuses on leadership skills and preparation for excellence and success in mathematics, science, technology, engineering, and leadership. The students formed cohort groups averaging 16 students on each team and followed through the week focused on three different themes. The themes this year included Environmental Science, Robotics and Architecture, with morning themes of Leadership, Computer Science and Math.

It was in 2003 that the Institute of Technology implemented the Math Science Leadership (MSL) program. MSL targets populations that are underrepresented in these respective fields, by focusing on three specific disempowered groups: minorities (which can take on varying connotations), low-income students (determined based on whether or not they qualify for free or reduced lunch) and first-generation college-bound students. The program seeks to enrich the lives of youth in three areas:

· High level of secondary academic achievement in high-potential youth, specifically in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

· Leadership and social skill development for students as they transition from middle school to high school, and high school to college.

· Encourage students to develop the necessary skill-sets to become successful in pursuing postsecondary degrees in these respective fields.

The event could not have succeeded without a wonderful team of instructors, parents, volunteers and generous sponsors. In particular a big thanks to Intel Corporation who have been long time supporters of the program.

Logistically, programmatically and thematically everything went well. We some advance planning and work over the academic year we hope to continue the program next Summer and the Summers to follow.

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