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The STEM IDEA Academy

According to Pew Research Center, the typical STEM worker earns two-thirds more than non-STEM workers. However, some of the highest-earning STEM occupations, such as computer science and engineering, have the lowest percentage of women workers.

The STEM IDEA Academy is a FREE weeklong, residential program (June 26-30, 2023) designed to help participants see their potential in pursuing STEM education and career opportunities. Participants will get a sneak-peek on college-life by living in the University Village Apartments and enjoying campus dining. The program has been carefully designed to include a mixture of in and out of classroom activities that reflect a balanced yet adventurous college experience. In addition, these activities have been designed to address the theme of inclusivity, diversity, equity, and accessibility (IDEA).  We are intentionally inclusive of transgender, nonbinary, intersex, gender non-conforming, and female- and male-identified individuals who support equal representation of genders within STEM fields.

The program includes

  • Community-building games and activities
  • Hands-on STEM experiences
  • College readiness support
  • Education and career aspirations

IDEA Academy FAQ

  • What does a typical day look like?

    Breakfast will be served from 7:00-8:00AM, lunch from 11:30AM-12:30PM, and dinner from 5:00-6:00PM. There will be a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities throughout the day. Participants will be engaged in STEM hands-on activities as well as activities that help them prepare for college success. They will be back in their rooms around 9:00 PM and turn off lights by 10:00 PM.

  • Will I be able to request to stay with specific people?

    Besides helping the participants to learn about STEM education and career paths, we also want to help them build skills that will ease their transition from home to college. Therefore, it is most likely they will not be assigned to the same room with a prior acquaintance.

  • Will there be plenty of options for food to accommodate my dietary restrictions?

    All the meals we provide during the academy will be in buffet style so that participants will be able to choose their own food options. We will notify the dining service of dietary constraints of all participants so that they can prepare adequate options.

  • What kind of activities would we be participating in?
    Participants will engage in hands-on activities in different STEM fields. These activities will be led by STEM faculty and supported by STEM undergraduate students. There will also be community building activities that help participants develop skills supporting the transition from high school to college. 
  • What will the curriculum be? Hands on activities and experiments? Lectures and notes?
    The academy will include a mixture of lectures and hands-on activities. A Learning Management System container will be created to host the details of the curriculum, including lecture slides, descriptions of the hands-on activities, and related resources. Participants will have access to the container during the academy. 
  • Will the academy have college students presenting about their majors?
    The program includes four undergraduate STEM majors who will support the participants throughout the week. Participants are encouraged to chat with them about their college experiences and career aspirations. STEM faculty members will present education and career paths related to different majors. In addition, the academy will host a career panel for the participants to hear from professionals and ask questions. 
  • Could this program go on our college applications?
    Absolutely!  We hope to create a meaningful experience for the participants to discuss its impact on them in their college applications. 
  • Who is supervising us?
    The participants will be supervised by at least two undergraduate STEM majors and one CSUSM staff/faculty. 
  • Will parents be able to contact students while on the trip?
    We encourage the participants to immerse themselves in the academy activities and connect with their parents about their experience during breaks. An emergency contact number will be provided to parents.

Questions?  Contact Dr. Youwen Ouyang, Department of Computer Science & Information Systems, at

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