SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Classes at Allan Hancock College start the week of August 18th, but already incoming students are finding their way around the Santa Maria campus. Thirty freshman have been taking part this week in the school's inaugural, "Week of Discovery," a four-day long program for students who are entering the STEM program.
"STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics," said Ashley Brackett, a STEM Counselor at the college The program is part of a national coalition aimed at keeping the United States as the global economic and technological leader.
"There are not enough students with degrees in the STEM areas as there are jobs," said Brackett. "There's a lot of jobs out there and we don't have enough students to fill those jobs."
To help future STEM students acclimate to college life, the school is hosting its "Week of Discovery" for 30 incoming STEM freshman. "They're learning everything from STEM concepts and also getting presentations from faculty, so our physics faculty, engineering, chemistry, biology and then they're also getting acquainted with campus," said Brackett.
According to Justin Delgado, a Orcutt Academy graduate from Santa Maria, the event is a great idea. "We all get to network right now and that's important because we get the opportunity to build friendships that will last throughout our college career at Hancock and get our feet wet with the teachers and the counselors. It's definitely going to be a nice bridge to help come into Hancock," said Delgado.
Delgado is pursing a computer science degree with the intent of someday working for a major computer company. "I'd say my main goal is to work for a company like Google, assigning software, computer programming, something like that," said Delgado. "I feel like it's really rewarding, especially if you're doing what you love and especially nowadays with the pay rate being extremely high."
During the week, the students have participated in a number of activities. "They're learning everything from STEM concepts and also getting presentations from faculty, so our physics faculty, engineering, chemistry, biology and then they're also getting acquainted with campus," said Beckett.
The students participated in a geocaching scavenger hunt on Wednesday and ended the Week of Discovery with an on-campus tour of Diablo Canyon Power Plant and the Avila Lighthouse on Thursday.