Since 1992, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Ty Warner Sea Center’s Quasars to Sea Stars program has been engaging area teens in work-based science learning opportunities. Open to students ages 13-18, with targeted recruitment of students from backgrounds underrepresented in STEM careers, Quasars to Sea Stars is structured as a four-year, year-round experience for participants. For at least twelve hours per month during the school year and twelve hours per week during the summer, students work closely with educators and scientists to learn about the natural world, taking classes on topics like entomology, zoology, astronomy, marine biology, and anthropology. Students learn important life skills such as public speaking, computer competency, resume writing, and leadership. After completing 60 hours of community service, students can become paid staff members, working with Museum scientists and professionals in departments of their choice. The program’s 2010 graduating seniors are all pursuing higher education at major universities including UCLA, UC San Diego, University of Washington, and UC Berkeley.
The museum also partners with a variety of local agencies and organizations to recruit and support students, including the Santa Barbara School Districts; City of Santa Barbara Teen Program; the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Isla Vista Teen Center; Academy of Healing Arts for Teens;the Orfalea Foundation; Endowment for Youth; Santa Barbara Adventure Company; Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; Creative Wealth International; Domestic Violence Solutions; Just Communities Central Coast; University of California, Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara City College; and the Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation.
For more information about Quasars to Sea Stars, visit the program homepage.
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