VAST: Viterbi Adopt-a-School Adopt-a-Teacher
The USC Viterbi School of Engineering brings innovative STEM projects, programs, and professional development to under-resourced PreK-12 schools, teachers and families in Southern California through VAST — Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher — the research-based component of USC Viterbi’s STEM outreach. By providing opportunities for underrepresented minorities to experience firsthand the ways engineering research benefits society, VAST enables students to see ways they might also use STEM to solve problems and improve their communities. Using evidence-based practices, VAST encourages 21st Century STEM skills, which cut across traditional disciplines and increasingly require computational input. VAST provides experiential learning opportunities and shares the broader impacts of research conducted by faculty supported by the National Science Foundation and diverse agencies. VAST’s approach to improving STEM education and educator development enhances the connections that already exist between research and education in order to contribute to a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.
Specifically, VAST mentors teachers, students and families in the following ways:
- Embedding high school students and teachers within USC Viterbi faculty research teams through the Summer High School Intensive in Next-Generation Engineering (SHINE) program and teacher “externships.”
- Providing tested, high-impact professional development in computer science as the Southern California Regional Partner for Code.org.
- Designing and implementing research-based interventions that contribute to academic and policy leadership in STEM ed, such as the Community of Practice in Building Opportunities with Teachers in Schools (BOTS).
- Showcasing engineering research through STEM Spotlights and the annual Robotics Open House.
- Cultivating a STEM-engaged ecosystem through El Círculo Familiar.
- Creating custom multi-year partnerships between USC faculty and schools to share the broader impacts of USC Viterbi research.
Our goal is to inspire the younger generations, their families and teachers by showcasing the creativity and social benefits of cutting-edge USC Viterbi research, leveraging resources and nurturing infrastructures to support this mission.