Research, Service and Entrepreneurship Education: Tracks and QDII
Co-developed with input from educators, researchers and local community leaders, SENDforC has created three distinct learning environments for high school students to choose their favored interest: the Hard Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science Tracks. Each Track has its own distinct vision and set of skills it teaches through lessons, workshops and research training. All Tracks intersect for multidisciplinary and vivid collaborations to engage and create novel science in emerging fields. More Tracks can be developed based on student request and further input from individual educators and community leaders. These programs are student-driven, student-created and student-oriented and available at no cost.
QDII (pronounced Que-Dee Double I) stands for Question, Discover, Innovate, and Impact. It is the two year social entrepreneurship curriculum developed by SENDforC that serves as the framework to guide students' scientific inquiry and community involvement into product development of technologies to solve tangible problems.
Available upon partnership school site request:
- Community Co-Op: students are required to create a long-term and self-sustaining initiative for their communities
- Practicuum: demo projects with University Mentors
- Final Conference at sponsoring University Chapter, tours of campuses
- Tutoring in academic subjects
- College application, scholarships advising or any similar workshops
- Fellowship and formal Research Assistant position for selected students
- History of Science and Modern Technology Briefings
- Support after completing the program and entering college
- Online curricula and digital content available; remote mentorship through email is also available!
(includes Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Bioengineering):
The Hard Sciences Track aims to teach the Biological and Physical Sciences in a non-deterministic way: students arrive at core concepts themselves, instead of being taught rigid facts without a purpose and taking them for granted. Inspired by the Case Study method from Harvard Business School, students are put in the shoes of a researcher with a dilemma; after presented with a conceptual overview of foundational concepts such as the central dogma and molecular machinery, they participate in moderated debates. Discovery-based learning is used as an application-focused approach.
For the following lesson, students are presented with sample cases of critical lab techniques with too much and too little information and must prioritize the most relevant facts, forming a detailed protocol based on partial information. There are always several solutions with equally compelling approaches. After the debates and protocol drafting, a summary of pros and cons of each technique or proposed suggestion will be assessed by the University Mentors and the research begins the following week. The capstone is Biochemistry, students transform their saliva through several micro-organisms by expressing GFP -- a breakthrough bioluminescence discovery by a UCSD professor awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Students are exposed to multiple ways of approaching the problem: through Biotechnology, traditional Genetics, Optics Engineering, Nanotechnology, Computational Scripts and other ways of solving this problem. We hope to spark an interest in discovery, mature their understanding of complex multifaceted problems, practice laboratory skills and solve the problems they see in their physical and social environment.
(includes Mechanical and Electrical Systems, Aerospace and NanoEngineering, 3D printing and design principles):
Engineering is the merger of science and design. At the heart of engineering is design through analysis, where an engineer analyzes a problem scientifically, and uses this data and knowledge of the system in play to design solutions for problems. At a high level, engineering problems deal with very difficult problems that lack possible optimization - these problems do not have a “best” solution, only a solution with a varying benefits and tradeoffs. Engineering spends time thinking of and designing solutions systematically, avoiding major trial and error, and exploring the systems they work with.
By the end of this year, we also hope students are able to objectively analyze the problems within their community both qualitatively and quantitatively, use this analysis to propose an underlying mechanism for both the existence and severity of these problems, and also be ready to research and design solutions to these problems.
Engineers generally work with physical phenomena and need to make models of how things work and how their parts fit into the greater project. Engineers are applied to a wide variety of fields, from biology, to chemistry, to electronics. Each category of engineer is expected to solve problems within their field and they do so by creating frameworks to model these systems and create designs that work best within these models. When these prototypes are put to the test they are evaluated, the models are refined, and the whole design process repeated. SENDforC Engineering will be collaborating with SENDforC Computer Science y building quadcopters from scratch: designing a pair of software APIs and producing the physical structure.
(includes Computer Engineering, LED Boards, Drones, Artificial Intelligence and Mobile App Development):
The Computer Science Tracks aims to make demystify CS and represent it in a visual and hands-on way. How does a computer think? By programming in Python, an interpretive language; no compiling is required with responsive iteration demonstrated visually immediately. Problems are presented before solutions, so students can understand the use of every device in their programming toolbox and will never wonder why they would use it. Priority is placed on the theoretical knowledge of software engineering such as algorithmic principles versus narrower domain specific knowledge so students can have a broad foundation and succeed throughout Computer Science. Other goals include emphasizing and understanding what, if any goals Computer Science cannot solve and express what the industry is like.
Through a collaboration with SENDforC Engineering, students are thrust into a team-industry environment with student specialists from both tracks. Engineers need a basic understanding of CS, CS needs a basic understanding of Engineering principles. Despite out best attempts, it is not possible to be an expert in every field, to foster the development of professional trust in academia (since we often do not have a strong foundation in our partner's expertise) students must be able to ask the right questions and collaborate with a systematic problem-solving mindset. How to properly succeed in multidisciplinary teams with a partial understanding of only your area of expertise.
SENDforC Computer Science LED Board Visualization Demo at UC San Diego
Question (Year 1, Semester 1):
As their first stage, it is important for students to understand and assess what the needs of a community are. Students will start at a smaller scale within their own homes and go through activities to create a list of needs. Students will prepare a presentation for their peers and community stakeholders.
Being an entrepreneur is not just about starting, managing and sometimes following, but also grasping the demand and delivering the “potential to achieve” through presentations and showcases to as many people as possible. Students will follow the 'Lean Startup' model and be guided by their local SENDforC Lead Instructor.
Discover (Year 1, Semester 2):
Students will review the issues they have collected in the Question stage, and rank them based on an objective method. Students will then begin to formulate a solution for their top three societal issues.
Throughout their program, all students will go through interactive online learning and hands-on projects to enhance their knowledge on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Students will have two major showcases after the Discover and Impact stages, which they will research and prepare for thoroughly. They will undergo an extensive literature review, draft a research proposal for their team-based project including a mock grant application after interviewing a variety of subject-matter experts. Requests are sent to the Lead Instructor, Track Committee and SENDforC Technical Team for further critiques and approval of safety, feasibility and potential impact.
Innovate (Year 2, Semester 1):
Innovation may be a hard thing to achieve at first, but steps can exist to help students along the way and keep things fun. Students will determine a timeline and budget, research on any past work they can build on, and ensure safe, engaging, and promising work sessions throughout their year.
They will then design a prototype for assessment. If feasible, they will proceed to the fabrication of their first prototype. Technical aspects will be explored such as computer simulation of their Computer-Aided Designs via training by their University Mentors and the SENDforC Technical Team. Students will also explore crowdfunding and other techniques to extend their allotted budget. Students will wrap up R&D as the deploy their solutions outside of the laboratory and into their communities and partnerships with NGOs. Competitions may also be entered and additional mentorship partnerships may arise form academia affiliated with the universities.
Impact (Year 2, Semester 2):
Students will go through an extensive training on the business and entrepreneurial aspects such as sample accounting, supply chain selection, production planning, and executive presentation skills. The students will make their final showcase at a UC San Diego Conference with product demonstration to stakeholders and guests who can provide them with insights.
Based on their direction of their project and desire to continue, they may continue to develop their solution as a nonprofit organization, startup with Business Model Canvas, community initiative or other approaches they decide.
The QDII program not only fosters the skills necessary to market the students’ ideas effectively, but it also allows students to explore their curiosities and make them into realities. By having students engage in current technology, they will develop the technical skills necessary as future entrepreneurs in the STEM and social enterprise field.