Exploring STEM Careers Initiative (ESCI) is a National Science Foundation funded grant to San Diego State University Research Foundation in collaboration with San Diego Science Alliance.

ESCI engages 6th -12th grade school districts and school sites, STEM mentors, institutes of higher education, and community partners in STEM engineering challenges during out-of-school-time. These include:

  • Botball–Student teams demonstrate understanding of programming, sensors and engineering design through a real-world robotics challenge. At practices and a regional tournament, autonomous robots go head-to-head in a timed competition, solving a societal issue or problem.
  • SeaPerch–Students teams research buoyancy and marine engineering as they construct and equip an underwater vehicle for remote operation. SeaPerch ROV’s are deployed during research events and a tournament to investigate environmental issues.
  • Kid Wind–Student teams develop understanding of aerodynamics and energy conversion during construction of wind turbines. KidWind teams explore how to maximize output through the engineering design process at practices and regional tournaments.

    ESCI project offers teachers a one-year commitment to implement one of the engineering challenges with students and participate in professional learning. Completion of 8 days of STEM Professional Development is required during the year round program. Completion of up to 40 hours of after school activities in one of the above listed STEM challenge projects. Stipends are provided for out-of-school– time student team support and non-school day professional development. In addition to the design, engineering and prototyping of devices, students and teachers maintain journals and prepare presentations to inform the public about optimal conditions for research in the area they explored. Prior STEM teaching experience not a requirement.

    ESCI enlists the support of professionals who work in STEM fields to participate at the school site and public events to support ESCI engineering and research projects. The “STEM Professionals” are volunteers who agree to participate in school-led, out-of-school-time student engineering projects.

    The Value of Participating in ESCI – Students express a variety of reasons for joining teams. At least half of the students joined because they expressed interest in STEM projects and related careers.

ESCI Provides Opportunities to learn 21st Century skills including: Robotics and Programming, Engineering Design Cycle, Time Management, Team Work that support Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards. Contact: Nancy Taylor Principal Investigator, or Dave Massey Program Director, 619.517-4288

Partnership School Districts: San DiegoUSD, Lakeside USD, Cajon Valley SD, Grossmont Union High SD, La Mesa Spring Valley SD, Lemon Grove SD, Dehesa SD. SUHSD