Saura Naderi: “It never ceases to amaze me what these kids come up with."
How do you get young students to embrace math and science?
Start by adding art.
In a new UCSD-TV video, a team at Qualcomm tackles this challenge by immersing a group of Chula Vista middle-school students into a world of creative engineering within its Thinkabit Lab.
Think of Thinkabit as a hands-on lab that adds art to the traditional STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) that inspires students to be highly creative while they learn engineering concepts.
With the added "A," what results is STEAM, a program within Extension’s Academic Connections, as directed by Edward Abeyta.
Saura Naderi, a UC San Diego engineering physics graduate (’07), inspires students to enjoy the process of designing and coding as they build imaginative projects.
“It never ceases to amaze me what these kids come up with,” says Naderi, an engineer and a career development specialist at Qualcomm. In 2009, she was a founder of MyLab at Calit2’s Qualcomm Institute. The MyLab program engages undergraduates with practical, hands-on experiences with engineering through internships, outreach and workshops.
“I mean, they don’t have limits in their own head," she added. "To give these kids that flexibility and that empowerment, it’s probably one of the first times in their childhood they get to own something that’s completely theirs.”
Titled "STEAM Powered: Fueling Student Interest in Engineering," the 12-minute video profiles students at Feaster Middle STEAM Academy in Chula Vista.
“It isn’t one thing or one project or one idea,” says Feaster Charter School teacher Cassie Santos. “It’s more about the process … because that translates so well from what they’re doing here into real-world, real-life situations.”