Two Virtual Summer Programs Reach Underrepresented Populations of High School Students

Achievement date: 

Two virtual summer programs for high school students were presented by educators at the University of New Mexico School of Engineering, a partner of the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR), an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center (ERC) based at Purdue University.


These types of programs are highly beneficial for high school participants, allowing them to experience college life and benefit from modules presented as they would from a college course, increasing their sense of responsibility and enabling them to be better prepared for college. Specific skills were learned, including first-hand, extensive programming; coding; and presentation and other soft skills. All skills obtained will be helpful in any career they choose to pursue in the future.


The programs featured six online modules per day for three weeks and ran for a total of six hours, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. One of the modules introduced students to CISTAR concepts. The other five modules introduced students to MATLAB, Game Developing, Arduino/Robotics programming, and college-preparation activities and virtual field trips.

A total of 41 students attended the online programs, including 21 students for three weeks in June and 20 students for three weeks in July. Of the 41 students, 73 percent came from populations of minority students who are underrepresented in college, including women, who comprised about half the students.