Junior Academy

Here’s a chance for students in grades 6 to 12 to explore a range of fascinating science and tech topics – and just possibly to find career inspiration. Spring registration is now open for free Sally Ride Science STEAM workshops at library branches around San Diego.

The spring lineup for the Library NExT program, a partnership between the San Diego Public Library and UC San Diego, includes 44 hands-on workshops. Classes are offered at nine libraries, including, for the first time, the Mission Valley branch.

Popular STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) workshops are returning. These range from Exploring the Science of Harry Potter to Physics of Fidget Spinners and from Marine Mammals to Messy Science. And new workshops have been added, including:

  • Slime and Non-Newtonian Fluids: Students will explore how slime and other slippery fluids can be used to model phenomena such as glaciers, mudslides and quaking bogs.
  • Coding with DIY Drones: Students will work in groups to design and program drones and then practice aerial acrobatics.
  • Mysteries of the Human Genome: Why are your eyes brown and mine green? Students will learn the basics of DNA and how traits are passed from one generation to the next.

The workshops, held mostly on Saturdays, usually last from 3 to 4 hours. They are geared either to middle school students or to those in high school. Workshops are free, but students must register to attend. See a full schedule for April through June and register for classes here: https://sallyridescience.ucsd.edu/next/

Library NExT (Network of Education x Training) started in January 2017 as a pilot program offering workshops in five libraries. The program gradually expanded to include more branches and a greater variety of courses. In the program’s first year, it served more than 700 students.

The spring Library NExT workshops are being held at the San Diego Central Library as well branches in Linda Vista, Logan Heights, Mira Mesa, Mission Valley, Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa, Rancho Peñasquitos and Skyline Hills, as well as Malcolm X Library in Valencia Park.

Some of the Library NExT instructors are scientists and graduate students from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Others are UC San Diego undergraduates from Tritons for Sally Ride Science, a campus club that supports Sally Ride Science’s programs.

Workshops are based in part on curriculum developed for the Sally Ride Science Junior Academy, a summer STEAM program launched in 2016 after Sally Ride Science became part of UC San Diego. The 2018 Junior Academy runs from June 25 to July 20 at Mission Bay High School. For a list of Junior Academy courses, visit: https://sallyridescience.ucsd.edu/junior-academy/

Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space, joined with her partner, Tam O’Shaughnessy, and three other friends to found Sally Ride Science in 2001. Their goal was to inspire students, especially girls, to study science and to consider careers in science and engineering. Ride died of pancreatic cancer in 2012.

In 2015, Sally Ride Science became part of UC San Diego. O’Shaughnessy serves as executive director of Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego, which is based at UC San Diego Extension