“.. Enrollment …


“.. Enrollment of first-generation students is important for economic development reasons as well. The Idaho State Board of Education, after reviewing studies conducted by Georgetown University and the Lumina Foundation, has determined that approximately two-thirds of jobs expected to become available in Idaho by the year 2020 will require at least some post-secondary education (and about half of those will require a baccalaureate or advanced degree). Yet just over one-third of Idahoans have attained this educational level.

Consequently, Idaho has a work force imbalance: an oversupply of workers with education levels of high school or less, and an undersupply of workers with post-secondary education. An oversupply at the low end depresses wages and attracts businesses paying minimum wages. An undersupply at the high end discourages businesses that pay higher compensation and contemplate locating or expanding in our state.

For all these reasons –- upward mobility, diversity, and economic development — the University of Idaho actively recruits first-generation students. At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many first-generation students –- women as well as men -– found the doors of higher education opened to them by military training programs (precursors to our present ROTC programs). Today, one of our most visible recruiting efforts is the STEM Access Upward Bound program, designed to attract low-income and first-generation college-bound teenagers who have exhibited an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Our Bridge Idaho program provides further support for these and other first-generation students when they come to our Moscow campus. ..”

Don Burnett, Interim President in the University of Idaho Friday Letter on December, 20th, 2013

Hailey: Here’s the boom!

On Tuesday around 12:30 a.m., while I was listening to some of my music while trying to get to sleep, BOOM! The loudest thunder clap I have ever heard!
At first I thought it was the fire alarm … again. So, as any normal person would do, I started going nuts. I didn’t have a lot of time for freaking out though, because about two minutes later, a bright explosion of light filled my room and burned my eyes. I knew that could only be lightning after what I heard.
LightningAfter I regained focus, another thunder clap went off and all the walls shook — I thought the entire dorm was going to collapse on top of me! I’ve seen some bad thunderstorms, but at the time I was at home so I thought, “Oh, no big deal; this house has been through multiple storms in the past! What’s one more storm?” But I have never been by myself in a storm, in a small room, without light, and no sound other than some quiet music coming from my headphones on my desk (and the thunder, of course). Not to mention that I had just finished watching a somewhat creepy movie where the scariest part had some sort of strobe light quality to it, which the lightning looked like all too much.
Around 2:00 a.m. or so, it had seemed like the thunderstorm had passed, but I still couldn’t fall asleep, no matter how hard I tried. Eventually I fell asleep or as a closer way of describing it, I dozed off, but only got a few hours of rest at the most!
— Hailey Sorenson

Marissa: Of formulas and fatalities

For multiple days throughout the past week we have been learning math equations in NIATT engineering classes. We’re also learning how to pass cars legally in a car simulator. Some of the students got into the simulator and went for a drive down the highway into the country and didn’t wreck the virtual car. However, the students that did roll it on purpose or by accident were having the most fun. Kenny, Taran, another student, and I purposely rolled the car (virtually of course).

Here are some of the math equations that our engineering instructors, Brad and J.J., preached to us:
  • Passing Sight Distance, (PSD): PSD= D1+D2+D3+D4 
  • Stop Sight Distance, (SSD): Velocity multiplied by Time plus Velocity squared divided by two Acceleration
Before class the other day, J.J. started class with traffic safety statistics like these:
  • In 2010, 32,885 people died on American roads.
  • 38% of teen deaths involve traffic accidents and 25% of those accidents/deaths involve underage drinking.
  • 21% of the fatal car crashes involve teens and texting behind the wheel.
  • Out of all the drivers in America, only 6% are “young drivers.”

— Marissa Corbitt

Hope you weren't going to do something important that day!

Hope you weren’t going to do something important that day!

Dishonna: Hula hoop world record!


So far at STEM Access, we students have experienced some amazing things and have had some awesome times. Although STEM is a lot of work, we’ve had a lot of fun too.

On Saturday we visited the Moscow Farmers Market. It was a great experience. We even got to see a man perform who holds the record for hula-hooping the most hula-hoops at once!

hula-hoopsSunday was a lot of fun too. We visited the Aquatic Center. It was a lot of fun and a great experience.

— Dishonna Arnett

Let’s hear it for the girls in STEM!

I’ll be the first to admit — I’m not a math and science person. When I was in fourth grade, I spent hours in school filling my math notebook pages with the phrase “I hate math” repeated over and over. (Lord knows why my teacher didn’t stop me.) And when the Teen Talk Barbie doll came out back in the day, I related to her catch phrase “Math class is tough!”

Maybe math really is tough, and maybe I could never be a math person, but historically, the pattern in our educational system has been for girls to struggle in math and science. Girls find that “math class is tough” in grades K-12 and we often just leave it at that. That’s why I am thrilled to see that this summer’s Upward Bound STEM Access student population is 72 percent female! (By the way, I initially calculated that percentage on my own, but doubted my answer until my STEMmy husband confirmed that it was correct — a classic example of my Female Math Doubt.)

Becca’s recent blog post about the Longest Math Problem Ever is a perfect example of how girls are making their way in STEM studies. She claims that she’s never liked math, and yet she worked her way through a three-page proof!

Witnessing work like that makes me think that a kid like me could have learned to engage with math and science if only I’d had an experience like Upward Bound STEM Access provides. When you’re solving real-world problems, math and science don’t feel like homework at all.

— Charity Thompson Egland, STEM Access Writing Instructor

Will: A full schedule

John, Dana, Will, and Kylie hard at work

John, Dana, Will, and Kylie hard at work

The Upward Bound STEM Access program has an incredibly busy schedule. We get up at 6:00 in the morning, and go to breakfast at 7:00. We have class until noon, eat lunch until 1:00, and we have more class time until 4:00. We spend the rest of the day either playing sports or at dinner. Even without the normal amount of summer downtime, we still have a great time. Since we are constantly working or on the move, we have great opportunities to meet new people and become better friends with the other people in the group.

The constant work is difficult, but it is well worth it for what the program has to offer. We see math and engineering in action and get to meet the people behind the machines. Last week we were able to meet several people on the U of I snowmobile team, and we were able to ask questions about their design process and what awards they had won. Even with as tiring as the schedule can be, it is fun and definitely worth the time.

– William Jelsma

Taran: Fun and un-fun

Today in class we did a lot of work studying the dynamics of passing vehicles. We did a lot of fun experiments. We also did a lot of un-fun equations.

One of the fun things we did was working with the traffic simulator. I think that everybody in our group got to drive it and some people drove it twice. It showed the data on how important it is to find the calculations for passing. The day also proved how un-fun it is to conclude the data after the fun testing. We had to use a table to find the variables for an equation that we were using to find the variables of the original equation.

— Taran Scheuermann

After the experiment, there's the equation

After the experiment, there’s the equation

Braidan: Calculated risks

Braidan tries out a motorcycle

Braidan tries out a snowmobile

This summer, we STEM Access students are learning about transportation. We’ve learned about the difference between drunk driving and sober driving, and also texting while driving. In just one year, 32,885 people died on American roads.

As STEM students, we used a car simulator to learn about reaction time. We also have done some calculations about reaction time in different aspects of driving such as sight distance, stopping sight distance, and passing sight distance.

  • The sight distance is how far you can see down the road.
  • The stopping sight distance is how far you need to be able to see to safely stop in time.
  • The passing sight distance is the distance you need to see in order to pass another vehicle.

— Braidan Arrasmith

Meghan: Driving simulation


On Monday we did a driving simulation. With the driving simulator we calculated how long it took people to pass other cars. Engineers use this simulation for multiple reasons. They mainly use it for testing different ways to slow people down when passing other cars. This helps drivers pass legally instead of illegally.

— Meghan Curtiss

Sativa and Morgan try out the driving simulator

Sativa and Morgan try out the driving simulator