The Science and Engineering Mentoring Outreach Program

Based at Santa Clara University

Companion course

STEM Education and Social Justice
(BIOL 188)


Offical Course Description

This course will examine the issues and challenges surrounding STEM education in public schools in the US. Topics include funding issues, learning obstacles, national standards, AP compared to IB courses, online education, and creation/evolution controversies. Students will explore these topics while taking part in the Science and Engineering Mentoring Outreach (SEMO) Program working with students at Newark Memorial High School in Newark, California, which has been identified as a low performing high school with students of socially, economically, and/or politically marginalized or oppressed communities. SEMO Program participants will provide support and guidance to high school students as part of a pilot study to help improve science education, serve as higher education role models, and provide STEM career awareness while also gaining insight into public science education issues though personal interaction with this marginalized population. Students in BIOL 188 will learn through their personal interactions with high school students, structured written critical reflection, in-class discussion and a final research project, while receiving instruction from a diverse range of experts on science education in the region.




BIOL188 is a 3-unit companion course to the Science and Engineering Mentoring Outreach (SEMO) Program, and may be taken up to 3 times for credit as SEMO mentors who express commitment for multiple years are most desired. BIOL 188 is currently under review for ELSJ credit under the Core requirements. Students enrolled in the course will be able to complete the minimum number of contact hours required for one year in the program.

If you are you interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education or exploring social justice issues encountered by public school science students, especially those in underprivileged communities in the Bay Area, then this is the course for you.