50 Voices of the Future: Ed Abeyta on preparing students for success in college and beyond

edabeyta50voiceIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As the job market changes, so, too, must education. The impact of technology has an immense impact not only on our everyday lives but on learning and teaching as well. Innovation is pushing the idea of personalized education in order to support students’ individual talents and abilities. It’s a concept Ed Abeyta has supported for many years. As the assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-collegiate programs at UC San Diego Extension, Abeyta has worked to provide students opportunities to prepare themselves for success in college – and beyond.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Never before has it been so important to inspire the next generation to prepare for jobs that don’t yet exist in the workforce. We used to ask children what they want to be when they grow up, but today we should be asking them what big problem they wish to solve and how we can provide the tools they will need to solve it. My work seeks to implement sustainable approaches to connect UC San Diego resources to the community we serve. Some examples include test preparation, STEAM, short for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, educational programs, lower division college courses, parent college preparation workshops and much more.


(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

More than ever, we are learning that each student has unique talents and abilities. Our job as educators is to unlock the genius in each student through assessment tools, like the Strengths Finder, which helps identify specific talents and skills. A funny thing happens when students learn about their own unique talents and then are able to connect those talents with a vision of what they’d like to do with their lives. Already San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten has taken the lead in making sure this approach is integrated into our local district. Our pre-college department has been a key partner in this effort by hosting training and development sessions for teachers and counselors.

 (3) What’s the next big thing?

So much effort has been put into providing Advanced Placement (AP) courses for high school students to elevate the level of their education. We believe there is an opportunity to provide more practical skills by offering students the ability to earn a professional or specialized certificate in emerging STEAM disciplines. This approach enables students to receive not only their diploma but also a certificate in an applied skill area. More than ever we need to provide transformational experiences for young adults to be inspired and create a sense of vision for their future.


 (4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Our efforts are strategically disruptive in an attempt to explore new approaches to support our school districts and industry partners in our community. A number of years ago we added the arts to STEM, which has already made an impact on education not only here but throughout the country. This effort has shaped how our teachers approach education in the classroom via project-based learning. In addition, a strategic pre-college strategic approach to learning enables us to provide access to many talented young adults – regardless of their economic situation or background.

 (5) Hop into your time machine … what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now UC San Diego will continue to be the world command center and think tank for solving tomorrow’s problems and producing students who are not only intelligent but important members of our civic society.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s pre-college programs, visit http://precollege.ucsd.edu/.

50 Voices of the Future: Elizabeth Komives on keeping humans healthy

komives50voiceIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Despite all the medical advances in history, we still know remarkably little about disease. “We only know the causes of probably 20 diseases out of the thousands of things people suffer from,” says UC San Diego’s Elizabeth Komives. “And that’s because we don’t understand how the system works.” Komives, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry who runs the school’s biophysics research lab, has spent years studying the proteins contained in our cells – research that is critical, she says to understanding how the human body functions as a whole. Future advances in this field, she believes, will make it that much easier to fight disease and keep humans as healthy as possible.

Why is the work you do important?

My philosophy is that you can’t understand how to intervene in a system that you don’t understand. There have to be people – and I am one of these people – who do basic research. We don’t know how even the simplest cell inside our body actually does what it does. Every cell in a human body has exactly the same genes in it. But every cell does something different. Your hair cells are completely different from your liver cells, which are completely different from your lung cells. And we don’t even know what all the proteins are or how they’re modified in any cell – yet. So how can we know how to intervene effectively to change these functions – to stop a cancer cell or make a good cell grow better or prevent a particular drug’s side effects – when we simply don’t know how they work yet? I’m working at the very basic level of trying to understand how these proteins interact with each other, how they work together, who binds with who to create which functions when, so we don’t make the mistake of plowing forward with practical applications on a system we don’t yet understand. When a patient says, “I have X symptoms,” our research will help a doctor be able to say, “Oh, that’s because this protein is malfunctioning or this other protein is malfunctioning.”

What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

My lab has discovered some incredibly interesting things that proteins actually do. It’s very cool. We watch these proteins move with all different kinds of experiments and we go, “Oh my God, look at what this thing is doing.” And you never would have guessed it. But you can see it in the experiments. And it’s amazing. And that’s just one protein. And we have 6,000 different proteins in every cell and so we have so much yet to learn about how nature has evolved these proteins to do the functions that need to be done in our normal functioning biology

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Ensemble of thrombin structures that best represent the NMR-derived residual dipolar couplings

 

What’s the next big thing?

To me, the next big thing in our field is increasing diversity. I am a firm believer that the lens through which you look at your experimental results is a personal lens, and a person’s background and training and family and life experiences provide a different viewpoint of what you see what you actually get an experimental result. This is why it’s very important to me that we can no longer tolerate the white, over-40, male scientist as the only acceptable lens. I am trying my best to promote diversity among scientist and that’s what I’ve been trying to do with the Research Scholars program that’s part of UC San Diego Extension’s Academic Connections Summer program, which targets students from underprivileged backgrounds, from underrepresented minority groups and girls who maybe feel they won’t be popular if they’re a nerd.

How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Up until about 10 years ago everybody thought that drugs had to be small organic molecules and now that view has completely changed. Every year, there are many drugs coming on the market that are actually proteins. And so our understanding of how proteins work is going to be super-critical for this explosion of alternative therapies and better treatments for diseases. Both in biotech and in the pharmaceutical industry, this explosion is happening, and San Diego is I think third in the U.S. for those industries, behind only San Francisco and Boston. So I’m really looking forward to training future scientists who will work in the San Diego area and also having closer relationships with companies on the Mesa so they understand what we’re doing.

Hop into your time machine … what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

 With improved physics, we will be able to actually watch single proteins move inside cells. Right now we still cannot do that. That will enable us to truly understand the function of proteins in their native environment, as individuals. Right now, we’re targeting drugs to the average behavior of proteins, but it may be that one of these proteins is the outlier and that one is the problem. And so if we can’t visualize them individually, we can’t know.

Komives works with UC San Diego Extension on its Research Scholars program, which is part of its pre-college Academic Connections Summer program. The program allows students to work alongside world-renowned faculty researchers in such fields as chemistry, biochemistry, biology and nanotechnology.

 

 

50 Voices of the Future: Tam O’Shaughnessy on STEM education

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

As Carl Sagan once said, “We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology in which no one knows anything about science and technology.” Tam O’Shaughnessy, co-founder of Sally Ride Science and executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, has worked for years to remedy that situation. As a career scientist and educator, she emphasizes the need to empower all students—especially girls and young women—to become scientifically literate and to master skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

(1) Why is the work you do important?

The work of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is important because our society depends on STEM. We need to make sure all students are literate in STEM so they can make informed decisions about their lives—their health, their communities and our planet.

Eighty percent of the fastest growing jobs in America require knowledge and skills in math and science. Our future engineers, software developers and data scientists need STEM skills, yet the workforce in these crucial jobs does not reflect who we are in America. Even though women make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, only 28 percent are employed in STEM fields. Historically underrepresented groups—Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians and Alaskan Natives—make up 26 percent of the U.S. adult population, but they account for only 10 percent of the workers in STEM jobs.

Science advances and grows when people from all parts of our society contribute. We face huge challenges—where will we get enough sustainable energy? How will we curb emissions of greenhouse gases? How can we contain disease epidemics? The solutions will come from science. We need to make sure we are tapping into the talents and creativity of women and men from all backgrounds to overcome those obstacles.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

STEM is at the forefront of the education policy discussion these days. Educators, parents, lawmakers and corporate America understand the need for a STEM-literate citizenry, and they are taking steps toward that goal. There is a critical mass of people building on what research and classroom experience show works best in STEM education. This includes improving teacher preparation and establishing consistent standards and curricula across states.

When we achieve excellence in science classrooms, teaching and learning are dynamic. Students work cooperatively to share ideas and participate in discussions. They make predictions and talk through explanations, evidence and relationships between hypotheses and data. Students review and evaluate their own knowledge and revise their ideas based on new information. In an excellent science classroom, students are immersed in doing science as it is done by real scientists.


(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big things are equity and excellence—in STEM education and, in turn, in STEM fields. Our society will reap countless benefits if we enable all students to be their authentic selves. We need to provide excellent educational opportunities for everyone regardless of gender, race, cultural or ethnic background, disabilities, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Making sure that all students receive an excellent STEM education will play an enormous role in shaping the future of San Diego and the nation. Equity and excellence in STEM education will impact everything from productivity and prosperity to innovation and quality of life. STEM literacy empowers people to make informed decisions in their personal lives—selecting nutritious foods, evaluating options for medical treatment or adopting environmentally responsible habits. STEM literacy also enables people to weigh competing arguments and reach valid conclusions on issues facing our society. An understanding of basic STEM concepts prepares young people for the future by developing critical thinking skills that are invaluable in any field of study and in any career.

Not all students want to pursue advanced degrees. There are opportunities in STEM for everyone. For example, half of all STEM jobs don’t require a four-year degree. These jobs pay an average of $53,000, which is 10 percent higher than non-STEM jobs with similar education requirements.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Fifty years from now, equity and excellence in STEM education will be realized. This is a lofty view of the future, but based on the progress we are making, we can achieve this goal. When we create a STEM-literate citizenry—and all that it entails—our country will be stronger socially and economically. Individuals, nonprofit organizations and companies can help realize this future by supporting their communities’ efforts to improve STEM education based on our current knowledge of how children and adults learn.

We invite you to more about Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego and other Pre-College programs that we offer at UC San Diego Extension.

Reality Changers and Imperial Valley students: First-generation college-bound students face their future

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In a very small classroom at UC San Diego, about 20 attentive students are giving presentations. But these aren’t the students you’d expect to see on a college campus – they are high schoolers who are part of a three-week summer program called Academic Connections, which prepares young students for college life, both academically and socially.

In this particular class, Disease Detectives: Introduction to Epidemiology, the students are learning about the causes and effects of disease and illness. One of the students presenting is Paola Duarte, a 16-year-old from Southern California’s Imperial Valley.

Duarte is a first-generation college-bound student and is thrilled to be on the UC San Diego campus. She is especially grateful that, as part of the migrant family program at her high school, she received a full scholarship ($3,900) to attend the summer college prep program. UC San Diego Extension provides scholarships for its Academic Connections program for low-income, high-potential youth to give them a chance to become first generation college students.

“I am excited to be the first one in my family to go to college and to show them that I can do it,” said Duarte, who had to write an essay and collect recommendation letters to get accepted into the program. “This campus is the only UC that has human biology, which I want to major in. I wanted to come here to learn more about the campus and get college credits so I could have the possibility of being admitted to UC San Diego. I also wanted to come here because I wanted to spend my summer doing great things and to improve academically.”

Besides boosting her college-prep experience, Duarte got a good taste of campus life during the summer residential program – literally.

“I like to live on campus and eat food from the cafeteria,” she said. “It’s an experience. You are getting prepared for when you go to college; you know what it’s like not to have your mom’s food every day.”

Making new friends from around the world is another bonus.

“It’s very cool because we live in Imperial Valley, which is considered a low income area, so many people there don’t have the opportunity to pay for this program,” Duarte said. “I really like the diversity here. I have learned a lot from many cultures and have made friends from different countries: China, Japan and Saudi Arabia.”

Duarte has one more year of high school, but she already has her college and career plans mapped out. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she plans to go to medical school to become a surgeon.

“I believe there is a purpose in life, and I think my purpose is to help other people,” she said, explaining that she was frequently sick as a young child. “I want to dedicate my life to that.”

Fellow classmate Ciarra Reyes also wants to be involved in the medical field. Reyes, who was born and raised in Brawley in the Imperial Valley, is the youngest of six kids. She, too, attended the Academic Connections program on a full scholarship.

“This is a really good way to experience college life and be prepared mentally and know what your choices are and where you want to go,” she said. “Before this, I wanted to be a doctor, but now I may want to go into epidemiology or work for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).”

Reyes, who celebrated her sixteenth birthday during the summer program, said the social aspect was just as important as the rich academic experience she received. Back home in the Imperial Valley, she is not part of any sports teams or clubs, but during the Academic Connections program, Reyes played soccer and Frisbee with her peers, as well as joined in on karaoke night. She also made new friends with teens from across the globe.

“With the connections you make here, if you open up to different people from different places, you can have lifelong friends,” she said. “I have one roommate from China and another roommate from Atlanta, Georgia. In Brawley, there are a lot of the same people. When we come here, other people are actually interested in our culture and it makes us feel more important and connected to our own culture. I am very grateful to be here; it’s a great opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you can do with your future.”

Thanks to the Academic Connections program, 16-year-old Eric Lechuga is another step closer to realizing his future – a career in medicine. Lechuga, who was able to attend through a scholarship from Reality Changers, which is a nonprofit that helps low-income youth become first-generation college students. Lechuga, for example, will be the first one in his family to go to college as his two older siblings didn’t even finish high school.

“I worked hard and got a good GPA so I could get a scholarship to come here,” he said. “My motivation to be here is I wanted to make my mom proud. When I told her that I got accepted, she was really happy and started crying.”

Lechuga, who will attend Hoover High School in San Diego in the fall as a junior, said the Academic Connections program also gave him the opportunity to meet new and different people and to broaden his view of the world.

If you have more understanding about other people’s cultures you will get along with more people,” he said. “Some people are closed minded and only focus on their own culture, which leads to racism.”

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Image by Ashley Emuka, July 13, 2016

In fact, one of the main missions of the Academic Connections program is to foster a unified global village, which ties into Chancellor Pradeep Khosla’s initiative to broaden the university’s reach in an effort to create lasting partnerships with communities across the region and world.

“By partnering with the community, we can sustain a pipeline each year that helps build relationships and shapes well-rounded citizens,” said Ed Abeyta, assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-college programs at UC San Diego Extension. “Our students from the Imperial Valley are a good example. No matter where they go they will have options to go to college. They are not only going to be good academically but they will also be good citizens. We teach them to understand themselves, how to work with others, how to disagree with civility, and ultimately find common purpose to solve problems in the world.”

UC San Diego Extension announces “The Next Fifty” scholarship recipients

50thLogoCMYKUniversity of California San Diego Extension has announced the 10 recipients for “The Next Fifty” scholarships, which is part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The scholarship program is UC San Diego Extension’s way to give back to the community by helping people prepare for what’s next. Awardees can use the $5,000 scholarship toward Extension’s courses and certificates.

Extension selected the 10 recipients out of close to 500 applications and the recipients represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The recipients and their areas of study are:

  1. David Beatty for Business Analysis Tools and Strategies
  2. Lala Forrest for Art and the Creative Process
  3. Rami Husseini for Datamining
  4. Norma Lopez for Teaching Adult Learners
  5. Patrick Mazza III for Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Alexandra Southard for Business Intelligence Analysis
  7. Kathleen Stadler for Fundraising and Development
  8. Abigail Wattierrez for Sustainable Business Practices
  9. Ryan Williams for Community Research and Program Evaluation
  10. Jordan Woolsey for Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English)

The scholarships were open to those with at least a high school degree or equivalent and who saw UC San Diego Extension as a way to advance their career or pursue their passions. The applicants were required to write a 500-word essay on how Extension can help them prepare for the future, which will be shared on Extension’s blog in the coming weeks.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community outreach and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said “The Next Fifty” scholarships deliver on Extension’s mission to offer the education and training needed to ensure the region is prepared for changes occurring in everything from the arts to technology to science.

“UC San Diego Extension wants to be a positive force for change. For more than 50 years, Extension has been evolving its programs and educational offerings to meet the needs of San Diego,” Abeyta said. “These scholarships will help individuals stay ahead of the curve and get ready for what’s next and underscore our commitment to lifelong learning.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Extension has been publishing a weekly blog feature called “Voices of the Future,” which showcases thought leaders including UC San Diego faculty, industry and civic leaders as well as Extension instructors on the technological and social advances envisioned in the next 50 years. These stories are designed to cover a wide variety of topics and highlight the life-changing advances happening on campus, in the San Diego region, and in the education sector itself.

UC San Diego Extension has also offered a variety of public lectures and programs to deliver on Extension’s anniversary celebration’s core mission and message, which is to prepare individuals and institutions for change. Upcoming events include a panel on the Election 2016 that Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, will moderate and that will feature, Thad Kousser, chair and professor of political science at UC San Diego; Scott Lewis, editor of the Voice of San Diego; and Laura Fink, professional political consultant.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s anniversary scholarships, blog features and events, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/.

Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego offers STEAM education for middle and high school students

View More: http://kevinmsutton.pass.us/sallyrideOver the course of three weeks, Sally Ride Science at University of California San Diego has educated more than 400 students in science, technology, engineering, art and math, also known as STEAM, through a variety of hands-on workshops in such topics as the science of earthquakes, space exploration, oceanography, robotics, 3-D modeling, virtual reality and more.

The Sally Ride Science Junior Academy, which ran through July 29, was launched this summer as part of a partnership between UC San Diego and Sally Ride Science, an education company that Ride, the first American woman in space, her long-time partner Tam O’Shaughnessy and Karen Flammer co-founded with two friends in 2001. Ride and the other founders were committed to expanding educational opportunities in the sciences, especially for girls and young women. The goal of the new partnership is to continue and expand that important mission.

UC San Diego Extension, the San Diego Super Computer Center and Scripps Institution of Oceanography worked together to develop the curriculum for the Junior Academy and the workshops that were taught by top-notch STEAM instructors, many of whom are scientists at Scripps.

IMG_0822To ensure that a wide range of students could take part in the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy, San Diego Unified School District worked with UC San Diego Extension to offer 150 scholarships to its students in 6th through 12th grades, with a special focus on girls and young women.

Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District, said Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego is helping to begin to close the gender gap in science and technology careers – something that is vitally important to ensure economic opportunity and regional prosperity.

“Half of the jobs today in our society require some type of technical background,” Marten said. “In the next decade, it is predicted that number could climb to 75 percent. We’re not going to be able to fill those jobs unless we start attracting more and different students to those fields. Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego Junior Academy is helping to inspire the next generation of innovators.”

The Junior Academy summer workshops included a variety of STEAM courses and allowed students to immerse themselves in hands-on projects, assuming the roles of a geophysicist, ocean engineer, and computer scientist and beyond. The workshops also incorporated real-life stories from the instructors who are conducting research in a variety of scientific fields to help inspire students to pursue careers in STEAM fields.

Karen Flammer, co-founder of Sally Ride Science and its current director of education, said the hands-on nature of the workshops was designed to engage students in these fields and encourage creativity and curiosity.

IMG_0835 “This program is about more than technical know-how. It is about sparking an interest and then showing these students the path forward,” Flammer said. “In this economy, technical know-how is not enough. You need creativity to innovate and that’s why it is so important that we incorporate arts with science technology, engineering and math.”

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community engagement and pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said the goal is to expand and grow the Junior Academy next summer and also explore offering a variety of out-of-school programs, including fall, winter and spring break camp options.

“This summer we’ve seen the interest and demand is there for this type of STEAM programming,” Abeyta said. “It’s clear we need to provide even more opportunities for students throughout our region to access this best-in-class STEAM education.”

For more information about Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, visit https://sallyridescience.com/

Arts integration takes its place in the spotlight in education reform trends

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UC San Diego Extension’s Morgan Appel was among arts integration experts and advocates who gathered in June for an invitation-only summit at Los Angeles’ J. Paul Getty Museum. Arts educators, non-profit leaders, and policy makers met to plot the future of arts integration and take advantage of a resurgence of interest in the arts among education reformers.

“The arts have always contributed to creative problem solving and fearless learning but with the advent of Common Core, educators have a new appreciation for the way that the arts promote these meta-cognitive skill sets. Similarly, the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) curriculum has added arts to its mix and schools now want to promote that they are STEAM academies,” said Appel, director of educational programs. He says the gathering at the Getty enabled diverse stakeholders from across the state to “better collaborate and shape our message” at this critical juncture.

Closer collaboration and wider sharing of success stories are sorely needed, Appel said, for what he fears could be “a narrow window of opportunity” for arts integration to make its case. Teaching of the arts suffered in the No Child Left Behind era in which the emphasis in education was on test scores. “Education reform tends to run in five-year cycles, particularly in California, and the pendulum swings in pronounced and exaggerated ways,” Appel noted. “Often in public education, we are grafted to the idea of immediate gratification – and while the neurobiological benefits of arts-integrated learning are well established, the perception is still that arts reward or enhance rather than facilitate cognition.”

As interest in arts education surges, Appel and UC San Diego Extension are developing an arts integration certificate program to meet the demand. Scheduled to launch this year, the program will offer educators a “palette of strategies and ideas” on which teachers can rely, using their instincts about the tools that will work best with their students. Courses will expose educators to many practical ways in which visual, digital and performing arts can be introduced in classrooms to promote 21st century skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, social and cross-cultural skills, among others that are touted as essential to thriving in the information age.

At the Getty event, Appel also connected with a local school district about other pursuits, including his work promoting the neurobiological benefits of games in the instruction of gifted and talented students. In particular, he said, “role-playing games enable students to assume identities, build out environments, and have wonderful adventures in their minds.” Gifted students often have trouble coming out of their shells, Appel added, but improvisational games give them license within prescribed parameters to be fearless. Live action and role playing games build confidence and competence and offer sophisticated opportunities to engage the brain, he shares. The games are, of course, integrated into the curriculum, manifesting connections between the arts and the desired subject matter.

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Appel, who has an MBA, taught at the Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine prior to coming to UC San Diego. He writes and speaks extensively about how arts transform the brain and the learning experience.

Grant will help more girls take part in summer STEAM workshops

View More: http://kevinmsutton.pass.us/sallyrideSally Ride Science @ UC San Diego has received a $30,000 grant to allow more middle school and high school girls to attend summer STEAM workshops.

The grant from the San Francisco-based Hellman Foundation will fund scholarships over the next three years for students attending the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy.

The academy provides fascinating and fun summer learning experiences in science, technology and engineering with applied mathematics and art design (STEAM). All students entering grades 6 through 12 are welcome, but the program’s emphasis is on encouraging girls in STEAM subjects.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Hellman Foundation to expand opportunities in the sciences for girls and young women,” said Tam O’Shaughnessy, executive director of Sally Ride Science @ UC San Diego. “Our goal is to inspire them to stick with their natural interest in STEAM and to consider STEAM careers.”

This summer’s Junior Academy runs from July 11-29. The 12 workshops range from Messy Discoveries to Music of Earthquakes and from Slimy Sea Creatures to Digital 3D Modeling. Students take on roles such as robotics engineer, ocean explorer or computer scientist as they immerse themselves in hands-on projects. Top STEAM instructors lead the workshops, serving as both teachers and role models.

Scholarships for the Junior Academy will go to girls selected from the program’s partners in the military, foster youth organizations, the San Diego Unified School District and other groups.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community engagement and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said the scholarship program was designed to deliver on UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s Strategic Plan that aims to bolster the university’s commitment to diversity and equity and better serve the larger community.

Karen Flammer, director of education for Sally Ride Science @ UC San Diego, added, “Our goal is to bring together girls with diverse backgrounds from all over San Diego and let them tinker and explore STEAM concepts in a collaborative environment. Scholarships make this possible.”

This summer’s workshops will be held at UC San Diego Extension’s University City complex at 6256 Greenwich Dr. Each workshop consists of one week of 3-hour sessions. Morning and afternoon sessions are offered. The cost is $150 per workshop. For more information on the Junior Academy, visit https://sallyridescience.com/k12-students/junior-academy

50 Voices of the Future: David Borgo on innovation in jazz

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In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Music is much more than notes on a computer screen to David Borgo. As a saxophonist, ethnomusicologist, and professor, he considers music a way for humans to communicate with respect and to learn from each other. Also an electronic music maverick, he uses every tool at his disposable to further his work and his students’ knowledge.

Borgo records and performs electro-acoustic improvisation with his duo KaiBorg, and original polyrhythmic music with his sextet Kronomorfic. At UC San Diego, he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses, including small seminars, large lectures and small ensembles. For example, one of his large freshman courses is in the Culture, Art and Technology sequence. That class explores the social history of sound recording, moving from Edison’s phonograph to the latest sound production, distribution and consumption practices. Along with jazz history and ensembles for undergraduates, Borgo leads graduate seminars in ethnomusicology and music cognition. Each year, he participates in the UC San Diego Jazz Camp, which provides an opportunity to reach students before they enter college. (The deadline to enroll in Jazz Camp is May 23.)


(1) Why is the work you do important?

Music is one of the most important windows into the human condition. It affects our emotions and identities, and it deeply impacts society. Humans make and enjoy music in extraordinarily diverse ways, but we all share the cognitive faculties and biological propensity to do so, hinting at music’s evolutionary and cultural significance.

Art also shows us at our very best, offering insight into how to respect and relate to one another. For me, the simple act of listening deeply improves our relationships with other people, with the natural environment, and with other organisms that share the world with us.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

As an artist of improvised music and jazz, it’s an exciting time. We can make connections with musicians all around the world who bring with them their own musical traditions and ways of doing things.

Technology also extends the total musical palette, but it creates its own strange loops. Computers don’t understand music the way humans do, so we design algorithms to guide them, yet in doing so, we often betray our implicit biases about what we think makes music meaningful or good. Algorithms ultimately reflect the values of the people who design them.


(3) What’s the next big thing?

What’s remarkable about music is some of the oldest music can sound the most modern. Often the goal is to get beyond one’s own world view. How can we better engage with people in a more harmonious and respectful way? Music invites us to recognize our shared humanity by respecting our immense and exciting differences.

Humans have always used technology to engage and understand their world, so clearly the latest technologies provide more opportunities. Sonically we can harness and create other-worldly sounds and interact in new ways, but ultimately I hope that we harness technology to teach us to listen more closely to one another.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Music works from the ground up. To be in the presence of music being made is a transformative experience. One goal is to enliven the San Diego music scene. San Diego is becoming more diverse and more connected, globally.

The ground up for me means engaging the students in the classroom. I always make a point of playing with them, because it’s better for them to learn with more experienced players. Ultimately you hope that students leave with expanded sensitivities, an enlarged world view, and a sharper critical lens for engaging the world.


(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Music technologies allow us to explore sounds in exciting new ways, but the interfaces we have between humans and machines are still in their infancy. Nothing yet approaches the violin or saxophone when it comes to complexity, nuance and intimacy. There is no technological interface that comes close. But they will get better.

We’re learning to feel and explore and understand the body in different ways. Music and sound offer a powerful way to do so. The world in 50 years will sound very different and look very different, but we’ll also be engaged by the same deeply human concerns and questions.

Learn more about UCSD Jazz Camp and explore our Performing Arts courses in Singing, Guitar, Piano and more.

50 Voices of the Future: Chris Yanov on getting low income kids into college

ChrisYanovWP

In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Solving problems is a passion for Christopher Yanov. Whether it’s coming up with the correct answer for a puzzle on “Wheel of Fortune,” or figuring out how to get kids from tough neighborhoods into college, Yanov enjoys putting together the right pieces to create success. One of those successes is Reality Changers, a nonprofit program aimed at getting students from traditionally underserved communities ready for college. Yanov started Reality Changers in 2001, with the help of the $23,000 he won as a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” that same year.

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Reality Changers is headquartered in a locality where only three percent of adults have college diplomas. We believe that college changes everything, especially for low-income intercity youth. We do assemblies for middle school students with a 2.0 GPA and below. Our studies have shown that unless they join Reality Changers, none of those struggling male 8th graders will graduate from their local high school, and only 25 percent of the females will be able to graduate without us.


(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

We started in 2001 with just $300. When May 2016 comes around, 15 years later, our graduates will have produced and secured over $100 million in college scholarships. It’s taken us 15 years to accomplish that feat, but we’re on track to replicate that again by 2020. We’re launching a model where schools, school districts and other nonprofits can come and learn our curriculum. As that begins to spread across California and the country, we believe we can help low-income intercity kids earn $100 million in scholarships every single year for every 30 schools they’re in.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

We’re taking the curriculum we have for our 12th graders, which helps them navigate through the college application process, and offering that out to essentially anybody who wants it, by the end of 2016. For us, the results are every 20 students that participate earn $1.7 million in college scholarships. That works out to about $88,000 dollars per student. We’re able to offer something that can make high school counselors and teachers more efficient and effective and helping low-income kids get to college.

(4) How big of an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

For one thing, in certain areas of San Diego only 50 percent of students are graduating high school. To have all these voices who have never really had a place in San Diego’s society to finally be able to represent their families, their neighborhood, their backgrounds – it’ll really be amazing to have these voices play significant roles in San Diego’s ongoing conversation.

When you look that far into the future, I mean, who else but Reality Changer students are the best educated, best spoken, and the ones who care the most about their community? There’s a good chance that our graduates could take up a third of the City Council within a decade or two. Not that that will happen, I’m just saying that the percentages are in our favor.


(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Reality Changers focuses on the toughest and brightest youth living in the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. What happens is that by raising their grades from below a 2.0, to say a 3.5 and above, going to UC San Diego over the summer after 9th, 10th, and 11th grade for three weeks, taking college classes, believing and becoming convinced they can succeed at a college level – the sky’s the limit. In 50 years, I honestly haven’t looked that far into the future with the program and the students, but I can only imagine that the success that they’re experiencing at such a young age will be multiplied by the time they have their own resources and their own connections to make an impact on San Diego.

Learn more about Academic Connections and explore our other Pre-College programs such as Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, SIO Games at Elementary Institute of Science, ThoughtSTEM (college prep credit in computer science), and Test Prep for the CT®, SAT®, GMAT®, GRE®, LSAT® and MCAT®.