Stanford science camp launches a love for STEM in underserved Oakland youth

On the sprawling green at Stanford University, 5th and 6th graders from Oakland and beyond transformed into scientists, trading in T-shirts for lab coats.

Science in the City has helped launch a love for STEM in young kids from underserved communities like Oakland.

“Some of these things here I've never learned before and I already know that some of this stuff is supposed to be for 7th and 8th graders but I'm really lucky to be learning this at such a young age,” said Garnett Givans, soon-to-be 6th grader of Oakland.

Experiments involving surface tension, gravity and pressure were all presented in a fun, hands on way.

“I get to make things and actually put my hands on something and work on something that I can keep,” said 11-year-old camper, Laticia Guerrero.

“Science has always driven our economic prosperity and even in the Bay Area there are so many biotech jobs, there are always job in physics and chemistry, and we need to make sure we're not ignoring science as a way to provide students access to careers,” said Bryan Brown, Stanford Professor of Science Education.

Brown says a camp like this at Stanford could cost between $1500 and $3000 a week.

It’s unattainable for most families which is why he and the Social Engineering Project partnered to create this week-long camp at a small fee of just $50.

“Unfortunately in the Bay Area we don't have a lot of opportunities for kids to have science camps in their communities, so we wanted to offer a low cost version, so they can see that science is something they can do,” said Brown.

Education and empowerment go hand in hand with this program.

“It’s been pretty cool so far. We've done a lot of experiments, and we got to talk to other people about what we've been doing,” said Alameda 5th grader, Joshua Hankerson.

Presentation helps build their confidence, while creating a memorable experience they'll hopefully use to continue to foster their love for science.