Summer School July 2012
A Pipeline from Middle School to College
At the Naval Postgraduate School’s Cebrowski Institute, we have designed a new program called Cyber Adventurers to support an ongoing learning community to excite students with the magic and beauty of computing, and to support more general efforts to interest students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors. We are currently working with local teachers and community leaders in Salinas and Monterey, CA, to create a student pipeline from middle school, through high school, to college.
The heart of this program is a merit badge system that takes students through three levels of accomplishment: experimenter, inventor, and innovator. Each merit badge is a quest and a group of merit badges plus a project takes the student to the next level. Each quest involves the students in interesting and engaging activities around some aspect of computing that ties to some aspect of their own lives. Older students in the program will be mentors for the younger students, and will receive coaching from experienced teachers. All the materials students need to work on their badges are contained in a field guide. (Click diagram to enlarge)
We believe that the key to success of the Cyber Adventurers program will be a network of positive role models along a continuous learning pipeline. Scientists and engineers in research labs mentor interns from community colleges and universities, who in turn mentor high school and middle school students. After a short while the students all say, "I can see myself doing that." The interns can see themselves as engineers; the high school and middle school students can see themselves attending college as STEM-CS (Computer Science) majors. While younger students may not be able to visualize the careers of computer scientists or engineers, many will aspire to be like role models who are just a bit older.
Cebrowski Institute hosts a highly successful intern program at the Naval Postgraduate School for Hartnell College students. Most interns are first generation Americans and college attendees. To date, every one of the student interns has either completed a BS degree, is at a four-year school working on a BS degree, or is still at Hartnell and planning to transfer. We call this our 3C (Community College Catalyst ) intern program. At the end of summer 2012, we will have 83 alumni from this program. Hartnell CS students and 3C alumni serve as inspiring mentors for younger Cyber Adventurers in their own community
Leveraging relationships built during the five years of hosting interns, we have organized a Cyber Adventurers pilot program in Salinas. Our partners are La Paz Middle School, RISE (Recruitment in Science Education) high school students, Hartnell College, CSUMB (Cal State University Monterey Bay) and Lyceum of Monterey County. A network of teachers from these schools is helping us integrate all the components into a complete working system.
Peter Denning leads our team, with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and strong support from Naval Postgraduate School leadership. The Department of Defense and the US Navy and are very concerned about the national security issue of a dearth of US citizens choosing CS and STEM majors. Our goal is to spread Cyber Adventurers nationally. We are looking for additional partners and the right area to host a second pilot, beginning in 2013. (Click diagram to enlarge)
1. Cyber Adventurers - http://cyberadventurers.org
2. Cebrowski Institute - http://www.nps.edu/cebrowski/
3. Hartnell College - http://www.hartnell.edu/nasa-cipa/
4. Peter Denning - http://www.rebootingcomputing.net/content/peter-denning
5. Cyber Adventurers - pdf
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