UC Merced

Summer Outreach Programs Foster Learning, Community

Summer programs can help students develop new skills, get hands-on experience, meet other students with similar interests and get a taste of college life. They also look great on college applications, demonstrating that students are committed to learning.

For elementary, middle and high school students from Merced, Fresno and beyond, UC Merced has been the perfect place to participate in a variety of special summer learning opportunities.

The Willie Lewis Brown Jr. Youth Leadership Development Program, nicknamed Brown Youth Academy, is in its third summer at UC Merced and serves sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students with an in-residence experience.

“Our goal is to demystify the college experience at UC Merced and inspire students to work hard and smart so they can go to college,” program Director Mari Harris said. “We are proud of the work we are doing to open doors and change lives by offering this real-world opportunity.”

Seven UC Merced student leaders hosted the middle-school students who learned about leadership and careers, attended a class lecture and participated in team-building activities. They visited Yosemite National Park, met UC Merced researchers and spent a day at nearby Lake Yosemite.

More than 100 seventh-graders from Fresno Unified School District attended the program in July.

Merced City School District, Merced County Office of Education and Grace Hopper STEM Academy from Inglewood each sent about 60 students.

About 20 high school students participated in the second Science and Technology Enrichment Program hosted by the NSF CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines.

Students attended a three-day orientation on campus, including educational and research activities, campus lab tours, workshops and a walk on the UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grassland Reserve to learn about unique vernal pool and grassland ecosystems. The students continued individual research experiences throughout summer.

The campus’s CalTeach program partnered with UC Merced faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students to offer the 2018 Bobcat Summer STEM Academy to fifth- through 12th-grade students interested in science, technology, engineering and math education.

The workshops ranged from students learning computer aided design software to create their own engineering projects to exploring the world of forensics by learning crime scene analysis, fingerprinting and more.

Since 2014, the Merced County Office of Education’s SWEET Summer Academy has partnered with area communities to offer a summer engineering program that exposes students to the many different disciplines within engineering.

SWEET — Students Who Experience Engineering and Technology Summer Academy — is a four- to five-week program that teaches students about engineering through weekly hands-on projects.

Throughout the summer, UC Merced engineering students visited participating Merced area schools and taught the Engineering is Elementary curriculum. In June, more than 200 students from six school districts toured campus and attended lectures with guest speakers including UC Merced chemistry Professor Erik Menke.

Free Children’s Pop-Up Exhibit Returns to Merced

Kids Discovery Station, this year’s second installment of the children’s pop-up exhibit, opened Aug. 1 at the Merced County Library after the resounding success of the city’s first Merced for Kids pop-up museum, which ended its run in June.

Kids Discovery Station runs through Aug. 21 in the Gracey Meeting Room at the Merced County Library, 2100 O St. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The pop-up is closed Sundays. Admission is free.

Exhibits include an augmented-reality digital sandbox where children can learn about maps and topography; a model train station; a restaurant where children can play and learn healthy eating habits; a toddler playground; a new virtual reality and technology center; and more.

The children’s museum is spearheaded by UC Merced Professor Mayya Tokman, Lecturer Angelo Kyrilov and Merced County District 2 Supervisor Lee Lor. The exhibit is organized with support from UC Merced’s CalTeach program, First 5 Merced County and UC Berkeley’s CalTeach program.

For more information about Kids Discovery Station and ways to get involved, visit http://facebook.com/mercedforkids. Individuals and organizations interested in becoming partners or donors should contact mercedforkids@gmail.com.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the campus’s Public Relations team. To contact the team, email PR@ucmerced.edu.