Powerful Signals, Part 1: Techbridge Oakland, California

Oakland, California – There's been no wake up call. Norman Augustine says there has not yet been a Sputnik moment - a single galvanizing event that illustrates what the lack of math and science preparedness could mean to the average citizen. Augustine chaired a committee comprised of corporate, higher education, and science leaders. It reported out 10 recommendations to federal lawmakers for strengthening science and technology innovation. A consensus is now growing among politicians, educators, and corporate leaders in favor of a stronger national effort to bolster math and science education from the earliest grades, right on through college. We found an organization in California that's already been doing just that. During this school year, Techbridge is hosting 16 programs at 15 schools across the Oakland unified school district, and other neighboring communities. Techbridge - is so called - because it offers a bridge between middle school and high school. It offers after school and summer programs designed to encourage girls in science, engineering and technology. Techbridge includes: hands-on activities in a girls-only environment; counseling about career options in technology, science and engineering; leadership and self-esteem development; and family events for encouraging girls in science and technology. Now, five years since it began these innovative programs, Techbridge has taught 1,250 mostly minority, working class, and middle income students. The Best of Our Knowledge visited an Oakland middle school to find out from students and teachers just what makes their program successful. Reese Erlich reports from California. (9:36) Featured in this story: Linda Kekelis, Techbridge Executive Director; Judy McGinty, Middle School Teacher; Jeri Countryman, Oakland Technical High School; December Martin, Teacher; Robin Bellows, Oakland Tech Graduate, Harvard Freshman; Denika Williams, 6th Grade Student; Ebone Carter, 7th Grade Student; Jamaya Clay, 7th Grade Student; Katasha Kalongji, High School Senior *(For more information about the many Techbridge programs, or their Techbridge Summer Training Institute, their website is: .) For more information, visit the Women In Science On The Air! website at www.womeninscience.org. Powerful Signals: Transforming the Role of Women and Girls In Science and Engineering was made possible by support from the National Science Foundation.