Sample of Caltech Educational Outreach Programs



Summer Programs

Caltech Summer Research Connection Hands-on research experiences and project-based learning allow students and teachers to make real-world connections to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and they provide for a richer appreciation for the scientific process of discovery and how that process impacts our world.

A collaboration between Caltech and the Oak Crest Institute of Science, the Summer Research Connection (SRC) creates small student-teacher collaborative groups and places them in research laboratories at either Oak Crest or Caltech where they perform scientific research under the guidance of research mentors. The SRC program is made possible by grants from the Siemens Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the National Science Foundation.

Program Contact Information:
James Maloney, SRC Coordinator  (626) 395-2468

The Community Science Academy @ Caltech (CSA@Caltech) is a professional learning community and science teaching center promoting research in areas relevant to community needs, e.g. agriculture, environment, urban planning, etc. Toward this end, we work with schools and universities to teach core science and engineering skills, and to guide students and other citizens in relevant research. We collaborate with Caltech researchers to translate their work into educational opportunities and experiences.

We develop custom instrumentation, assays, software, and curriculum; perform outreach, teacher training, and professional development; work on community science and educational research projects; and teach at all levels.

Program Contact Information:  James Maloney, CSA (626) 395-2468 

iD Tech Camps For Students Ages 6 to 17 

iD Tech Camp summer computer camps for kids, pre-teens, and teens are segmented by course and age. Teens will study, socialize and eat with other teens, but may be in the vicinity of younger students during lab time. Yes, we’re a tech camp, but we do not sit in front of digital devices all day. We provide a well-balanced, fun summer camp experience that is age-appropriate for kids, pre-teens, and teens. Imagine a small group learning environment where the curriculum is tailored to you. A place where you build critical 21st century STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills in intimate clusters of just 8 students maximum per instructor, and collaborate with new friends.

You’ll gain confidence, explore a unique college campus, and get a taste of the collegiate experience. This isn’t just camp. It’s a portal to a fulfilling future, in college and beyond. Kids camps and teen camps encompass courses in programming with Java™, C++, Python™, Scratch, and more, app development with iPhone® and Android™, Minecraft, modding, FPS and RPG game design, robotics engineering with VEX® and LEGO®, 3D modeling & animation, filmmaking, photography, and web design. Course offerings vary by site. View courses at this location. Beginner or advanced, you'll get inspired by energetic, tech-savvy instructors. Do something big this summer!

Program Contact Information:                                                                                                    Mitch Aiken, Caltech CTLO (626) 395-4641

Caltech InnoWorks

This week-long program hosts local middle school students for a week of hands-on science and engineering learning. The program is organized by the Caltech chapter of Innoworks with the slogan "By Students, For Students." The organization aims to get underserved middle school students more interested in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.

"We try not to do too much classroom teaching but rather have each mentor work with three students—a ratio you never get in classrooms," said Nikita Sinha, 2012 student director of the Caltech InnoWorks chapter and a rising senior at Caltech. "The activities also relate to the students' daily lives, so the program takes science out of a textbook and makes it a lot more interesting and relevant."

Program Contact Information:

Elementary School Programs

Classroom Connection
Caltech Classroom Connection (CCC) pairs Caltech volunteers with local pre-college educators. The volunteers contribute their time, knowledge, and energy directly in classrooms to increase precollege student understanding, appreciation, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The mission of the CCC is to create sustainable, mutually beneficial partnerships between Caltech volunteers and local educators.

Program Contact Information:
James Maloney, CCC Coordinator
(626) 395-2468

Middle and High School Programs  

Solar Energy Workshop: Juice from Juice

Juice from Juice is a workshop-based program intended for science teachers who want to learn stimulating techniques based on solar energy. The day-long workshop, taught by Caltech post-docs and graduate students, covers making a solar cell using blackberry juice (!), the physics of light energy, chromatography, and electro-chemistry. The workshops are fun, with novel labs and like-minded science teachers sharing ideas and learning together. The participants enjoy lunch with the Caltech scientists, and working in a functioning science lab. Workshops are held four times per year.

Program Contact Information:
Michelle Hansen, Outreach Scientist, Center for Chemical Innovation
(626) 395-2829

Rise Program
The RISE Program is an afterschool math and science-focused tutoring program that serves public school students between grades 8 and 12. The tutoring takes place on the Caltech campus on a weekly basis and is provided by Caltech undergraduate and graduate students. The program is designed to help students gain greater competency in math foundations, improve skills in math and science and prepare students for college-level math and science.

Program Contact Information:
Liz Jackman, Student Programs Coordinator
(626) 395-6163

Reel Science (scroll to Reel Science)
A series of science programs featuring high definition films, followed by discussions with Caltech scientists. Designed for school groups grades 5 to 12, these programs are held on various Friday mornings throughout the school year.

Program Contact Information:
Cara Stemen, Manager

Identifying and developing new renewable energy sources are a top priority for mankind. Solar energy is the only available source of energy capable of continually providing the vast quantities of carbon-free energy that can meet the growing global energy demand. Photoelectrolysis of water with sunlight to produce hydrogen solves the problem of intermittent and unevenly distributed sunlight by storing the solar energy in a form that can be transported to provide fuel for combustion or a future generation of fuel cell vehicles and for electricity generation at night.

These projects provide a unique approach to learning chemistry that engages young people to participate in actual research to help solve the global energy problem.  The SHArK Project was established in 2008 at University of Wyoming as a spinoff of Professor Bruce Parkinson’s research effort on solar water splitting. It uses a Legos MindStorm robot as its primary apparatus.  This system is being used in a number of undergraduate colleges.  The SEAL Project was established in 2011 at Caltech as part of the NSF Center for Chemical Innovation outreach efforts.  While high school students began using SHArK equipment, it became clear that the original kits were not robust.  The SEAL Project was initialed by Dr. Jay Winkler with a new design using a LED pulser system. 

Program Contact Information:
Michelle Hansen, Outreach Scientist, Center for Chemical Innovation
(626) 395-2829

Caltech Free Online Course
An introductory Machine Learning course, taught by Caltech Professor Yaser Abu-Mostafa, runs periodically in a free, online format. The 18 lectures in this real Caltech course cover the theory, algorithms and applications of Machine Learning. Prerequisites: Basic probability, matrices, and calculus. The course includes live Q&A with online participation, as well as weekly online homework. Homework assignments have theoretical and experimental questions with varying levels of difficulty. Participants can choose to appear on a scoreboard, with ranking based on homework scores. For the full schedule and more information, please visit the website.

Program Contact Information: