About SENDforC: SENDforC is a STEM mentorship organization that pairs college students with high school students in our community. SENDforC's mission is to provide under-resourced high schools with hands-on extracurricular STEM opportunities. Our goal is to work towards reducing the opportunity gap that prevents minority students from pursuing a career in STEM or even considering their potential growth within a STEM field. Mentorship is an especially integral aspect of SENDforC’s mission, as mentors do not simply facilitate learning as their high school teachers might, but guide their mentees personally and academically. SENDforC mentors offer support and advice to their mentees as they explore their interests and prepare to apply to college. SENDforC currently offers 3 tracks for Summit students to participate in: Research, College Prep, and Stem Workshops. Students in the research track spend the year designing and carrying out their own STEM-related research projects, with the help and support of a SENDforC mentor they are paired with for the year. The College Prep track is dedicated to offering Summit students personal help with their college applications, including their essays, as well as support with deciding which schools to apply to, how to apply for financial aid, and how to decide on a school once they are accepted. Finally, in the STEM Workshops track, mentors create and facilitate weekly lessons and activities related to various topics in STEM, depending on what mentees are interested in exploring.
SENDforC Mentors at Summit K2
Our Current Partnership: SENDforC began mentoring students at Summit K2, a nearby high school, in September of 2018, and began its second year of mentoring this August. Summit K2 is a charter school in El Cerrito that opened in 2014. Mentors develop STEM curriculum which they use to mentor students at Summit K2 once a week during after-school mentorship sessions. During our first year of mentoring, mentors and mentees carried out a project involving Strawberry Creek on Berkeley campus in order to assess the health of the creek ecosystem using Chemistry test kits. Mentors have also facilitated lessons and projects in computer science to teach students to code in Python. The introduction of our Research Track allowed us to further our goal of creating opportunities for hands-on STEM experience that will provide a solid foundation in research for students prior to entering college. In the Research Track last year, students chose to explore a range of interesting topics, from studying cancer-fighting phytochemicals to creating an App to pair students with tutors.This year, many students have focused on carrying out research and projects to benefit their communities. One student is creating a website to provide resources for high school students interested in pre-med, while another student is collecting and analyzing data to assess how students in their school are impacted by false news. This year, we implemented our STEM Explorations Track, which is intended to provide mentees with engaging weekly lessons and activities related to STEM topics they are interested in. One week the topic might be biochemistry, while the next it might be related to environmental science. These sessions are intended to introduce students to a range of topics that they aren't always introduced to in high school. This allows them to explore various topics and discover where their interests lie, and whether they would like to further build upon these interests in college.
Mentors and mentees work together during a mentorship session.
Our Current Initiative: We are currently working to expand upon our STEM Explorations track. Our goal is to provide mentees in the STEM Explorations track with the opportunity to engage in hands-on STEM-related experiments and activities, facilitated either over Zoom or in person. In order to provide this opportunity, we will be putting together “STEM Kits,” consisting of various materials that students can safely use from home or in the classroom to carry out activities that directly relate to the material they learn. We hope that mentees will be able to utilize their STEM kits to gain a valuable hands-on learning experience while also having fun in the process. This semester, mentees will receive STEM Kits with supplies for growing and studying microorganisms on common household items. We will be holding a small competition to see who can come up with the most creative micro-organism design.
Mentees carry out a small experiment during a mentorship session.
Budget Breakdown: Each semester, we are planning to create STEM Kits with different materials, depending on the topics Workshop mentees are interested in exploring. STEM Workshops tend to host around 10 students per week. Each STEM kit costs at most $50 to put together. $1000 will provide us with the funds for creating STEM kits for two semesters ($50 x 10 mentees = $500 per semester). Any funds that are not spent in one semester will simply be carried over to the next. All funds raised through our initiative will be put towards Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 sessions.
Final Note: SENDforC's partnership with Summit has been progressing over the last few years, with more students joining each semester with a passion for STEM and a desire and commitment to learn beyond their everyday classes. It is important that SENDforC continues to expand and grow as a program at Summit, in order to continue to offer extracurricular STEM opportunities. Therefore, we are so incredibly grateful to all those who support our initiative, and would like to give our thanks for supporting not just our Workshops track, but our organization and its mission as a whole.
If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about SENDforC, please feel free to contact us, visit our website, or visit our social media!