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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

K-12 Students Visit Viterbi School Of Engineering

Students attended program highlighting STEM fields.

Under sunny skies, USC welcomed more than 200 young students from local schools today to participate in the Science Technology Engineering & Math Spotlight (STEM) outreach program to promote science education. 

The goal of the program is to spark students’ interest in these fields and to keep them engaged by showing them potential opportunities. 

"I am excited and looking forward to [the tour],” said Ramoz, a senior at Huntington Park Institute of Applied Medicine. He was excited about the math because he likes solving problems. The STEM event is a valuable learning experience. 

Ashley Kim, a junior at HPIAM, is interested in forensic science and math. “A lot of girls are scared of to see blood and stuff, but I found [forensic science] interesting in some ways,” Kim said. 

For most students, however, science is still challenging.

Prof. Maja Matarić, the founding director of the USC Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems and the co-director of the USC Robotics Research Lab, is one of the professors who organized today’s event. She finds that many young students are not interested in science because they think it’s hard and they don’t think they can do it.

 “That’s all wrong,” said Matarić, who encourages them to give it a try by inviting them to her labs and letting them engage with robots and researchers.

The STEM industry has grown exponentially in recent years and educators have acknowledged the importance to prepare students with required skill sets. To inspire students and keep their passion for science alive schools have been trying to incorporate STEM practical procedures in classrooms. 

Tony Moreno, a counselor at John Adams middle school, brought his students to tour the computer science labs, in hopes that they would learn about the importance of technology.

“Hopefully the more they learn, the more it will help their futures,” Moreno said. But he also pointed out that one of the most challenging part is getting the kids to embrace math and science.

Ruben Aburto, an assistant principal of HPIAM, also believes that STEM training provides many opportunities. 

"We want to make sure that we expose our students to those opportunities early so they have the opportunity to develop the skill sets that they need to be competitive and enter the fields," Aburto said.

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