USC ISI and Amazon Launching New STEM Summer Program for Underrepresented High School Students

| June 1, 2022

The four-week residential summer program, hosted by USC Viterbi’s Information Sciences Institute, aims to expose students to topics like AI, coding, and robotics.

The new Stimulating STEM program will provide high school and community college students with an immersive learning experience in STEM topics. (Image Credit/ iStock)

The new Stimulating STEM program will provide high school and community college students with an immersive learning experience in STEM topics. (Image Credit/ iStock)

USC’s Information Sciences Institute (ISI), a unit of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and Amazon have joined forces to launch a new summer program designed to support and encourage underrepresented students to enter STEM college education and careers. The program, named Stimulating STEM, will run for the first time this June. It is open to high school juniors, seniors, and first-year community college students in selected institutions.

“The primary goal of the Stimulating STEM program is to equip and empower historically underrepresented high school and community college students from economically and socially disadvantaged communities,” said Lisa Bland, who worked alongside fellow members of ISI’s DEI outreach subcommittee, Jamani King and Lori Weiss, to initiate the program.

“Increasing representation in STEM is really important,” said King, who is leading the effort to create the new program, serving in the role of Stimulating STEM’s program manager. “We hope the program will get these students excited about engineering, build their confidence, and inspire more underrepresented youth to pursue an education and career in STEM.”

For the program’s pilot this summer, 15 students will enjoy a four-week campus residency, staying in pre-paid USC housing and frequently traveling to the USC Information Sciences Institute located in nearby Marina del Rey. The program is completely free for participants, thanks to a grant awarded by Amazon.

Over the course of the program, students will be exposed to a wide range of computer science topics, including robotics, coding, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, space engineering, and more. Program participants will spend three to four hours each day learning about these topics through lecture-based sessions.

Additionally, students will attend one-day workshops taught by senior researchers at ISI, participate in tours of USC Viterbi research labs, and attend seminars to learn about the work and research of USC Viterbi scientists and engineers. The program will also include leadership, team building, wellness, and social activities.

Upon completion of the Stimulating STEM program, participants will be connected with other programs and initiatives that provide continued support for students considering pursuing an education and/or career in STEM in the future.

The Stimulating STEM program is one of two pilot programs launching this summer at USC Viterbi in collaboration with Amazon. The new USC Viterbi Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program will provide students with an opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research in USC Viterbi labs, gaining hands-on experience under the guidance of USC Viterbi faculty and Ph.D. students.

The SURE program is open to undergraduates from across the United States, with a focus on students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in STEM fields. Amazon has pledged to sponsor 30 undergraduate students for this eight-week campus residency at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering in summer 2022 and in summer 2023.

Stimulating STEM adds to USC Viterbi’s 25-year history of providing STEM based youth summer programs for historically underrepresented elementary, middle and high school students. In addition to its regular offering of summer programs, the Viterbi K-12 STEM Center is also taking over the CS@SC summer programs .


Published on June 1st, 2022

Last updated on May 16th, 2024

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