Build Ultra-STEM for AP teens
Purpose: The US is facing a crisis of staggering proportions which is threatening our quality of life, and our place in the world. That crisis, is the rate at which our youth are dropping out of high school and taking up the life style of a vagrant. In many states, one out of three will not finish school this year, but will drop out instead. That amounts to a staggering 1.2 million young people who will not be able to pay their cost of living in our economy next year, and will further burden the emergency services systems and DSHS with their poverty. At the heart of this crises is a broken public school system that has lost the ability to inspire and motivate our youth. There are many collateral forces involved in this complex failure, but at the bottom of this dilemma is an apparent inability to fund our public school systems properly. The NWNC is interested in modeling an educational experience as it should be. Properly funded and properly staffed with healthy student to teacher ratios. We have built a world class science and technology program that is producing excellence in our student’s academics and genuine passion for the sciences. This is not a dream yet to be accomplished. The program is finished and works.
The Experience: The North West Nuclear Consortium is first and foremost an adventure into the role that scientists have in discovery. We don’t just study the work of scientists, and learn about them. We become scientists and work alongside them. Everyone who participates directly in the program is required to wear a lab coat, dosimeter, name badge, and follow the protocols of a real research team, because we are a real research team! We are working on a very real area of fusion research that has critical implications for the future of energy around the world. Our goal is not to solve the problem alone, but to genuinely participate in the research process using the scientific method, and embrace the professional disciplines of collaboration with other colleges, universities and private persons from around the world who are pursuing a practical solution to fusion through the use of the internet and the publishing of white papers. Together we will inch along toward the goal, as I believe the real solution may take many years to build. In the process, our students will fully realize exactly what it is like to be a scientist, and to work within a team toward a common research goal. From this experience, most will make career choices in the sciences that will improve the quality of life for our city, state and nation. In this experience, I have immersed my “control group” in the persona, and working environment, of professional scientists. I have told them that their research matters. I have told them that their future depends on their focus and passion, and I have treated them as colleagues and peers.
Here is a bit of video that epitomizes the experience, but you have to actually be here to understand the full impact. A camera just doesn’t do justice. These young people are morphing into the mind set of a real scientists in a single year’s time.
Results: We have earned a total of $660,000 in scholarships for the students strictly from winning science fairs and competitions in the last 4 years. We won the Gold (1st Place) at WSU Imagine Tomorrow in 2012. We also won the Gold (1st place) at the Washington State Science Fair, and the Silver (2nd place) worldwide at ISEF in 2013. In 2014 we won 2 silver (2nd place) at the Central Sound Regional Science Fair at Bellevue College and the Gold (1st place) twice in category at the Washington State Science & Engineering Fair at Bremerton. In 2015, we won 14 - 1st place trophies at the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair, over $250,000 in scholarships at two different colleges and 3 of the 5 available trips to ISEF, where we won 4th place in the world against 72 countries. Our web site is http://www.nwnc.us.com
We have achieved more than our wildest expectations, and have also established metrics for cost, participation, STEM related college enrolments, and more. We have 20 students and 5 instructors for the FY16 school year, and we are already wait-listed. Schools from around the country are sending for information.
In the end, if you want world class students, you are going to have to build a world class program. What is different about this statement now is; that there exists a model of how to get that done!
In FY16 we need to be able to upgrade our labs and telemetry to provide higher quality data for our experiments, as well as provide for the expansion of our bio-chemistry unit and fusion reactor. The cost of operations and upgrades will run about $85,000 this year. We do not charge the students for this education, so we need your help to continue to offer this rare experience to a rapidly growing audience. Put simply, this really works!