Getting young high schoolers interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is a top priority for any higher education institution these days. American companies need more of our best and brightest in those knowledge-hungry innovation industries — which is why Bakersfield College has placed so much importance on reaching out to Kern County high schools and inviting their students to sample what a life in STEM could mean for them.
And we do such a good job reaching out that sometimes, those high schools reach out to us on their own.
Case in point, this email BC’s Director of Student Outreach Steve Watkin got a few weeks ago from Foothill High School counselor extraordinaire Connie Martin…
Dear Mr. Watkin,
Foothill High School has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with Bakersfield College. We greatly appreciate your staff’s efforts to assist our students in achieving their academic goals. Our students have benefited from many of your programs and opportunities to make higher education accessible and possible.
This year, we anticipate sending even more students to Bakersfield College. Many of those students are interested in STEM careers. As you know, STEM careers are in high demand, but lack qualified applicants. We would like to provide our students with the opportunity to learn about STEM careers and the pathways to this goal, but we need your help.
In an effort to increase the amount of Foothill students who attend Bakersfield College for STEM degrees and programs, we would like to take our students on a tour of Bakersfield College and CSUB. Your generous support would help us fund a bus where we could visit both campuses in one day. We are excited for the students to learn that there is a direct connection from Bakersfield College to CSUB in the area of STEM.
Now, that’s an opportunity too great to pass up.
So this week, 20 Foothill High School students trekked over to BC for a crash course in crafting a STEM career. They saw the campus and even got some up-close & personal time with some of BC’s finest instructors, like chemistry professor and 20-year BC institution Kenwood Vaughan.
Now, it would be easy here to again emphasize the incredible importance of STEM outreach like this. It’s critically important. It would also be natural here to thank Foothill High, Connie Martin and Foothill’s fabulous students for kickstarting this particular visit. We love that you thought of us and we were thrilled to have you.
But despite all that important stuff,the man of the hour was none other than our Chemistry faculty and department chair Professor Kenward Vaughn.
This brilliant chemist had the students spellbound in his lab and I am sure the pink, flower-print lab coat and the giant “Wear Your Goggles” warning sign affixed to his goggles played a role……
BC’s STEM faculty and staff just rock!