Sally Ride Science Inspires Students, Educates Parents

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A student in the Sally Ride Science program at UC San Diego in 2015.

Credit: Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego

Above: A student in the Sally Ride Science program at UC San Diego in 2015.

During a child’s academic career, there may be a point when parents or guardians can no longer assist with homework. This is the feedback that instructors at Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego received.

Morgan Appel is the director of the Education and Behavioral Sciences department at UC San Diego Extension. He created a one day, no-cost course for parents.


Parent’s Guide to Success
offers resources and strategies that parents can use with children and young adults to increase engagement and achievement.

It takes place at UCSD Extension University City Center on Friday, June 28 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

KPBS Evening Edition Anchor Ebone Monet spoke to Morgan Appel about the program.


Q: How did you first realize that a program like this was even needed?

A: You know, it’s interesting because it emerged organically from our work in education. So, at one of our school district partners, we offered a parent university. It’s for parents to have informed conversations with teachers and schools. The idea is that everybody goes to the same destination so that even if they’re going on different tracks, they’re going to arrive at the same place. What we realized is that parents were around, waiting for their kids poking their heads in the door, and some of them would say is it OK if I kind of participate or do something.

Q: What is Sally Ride Science at UC San Diego?

A: The Sally Ride Science Junior Academy is a four-week program. It is offered at our satellite campus and that’s a complete science immersion program for kids … different experiences which get them completely engaged and involved in science and what we wanted to be able to do is understand that parents need something similar. What we’re not trying to do with this course is cram 12 years of content into a day, but rather provide an understanding of how the brain learns science, how emotions connect to science to help them build skills like resilience and growth mindset.

Q: As an instructor, how important would you say is student resilience?

A: When we talk about science, we talk about it as an adventure. We talk about it as precision. We talk about it as chaos and creativity but also in science is dogged determination. You won’t always succeed on the first go. And it’s important to be able to go back and try again and to try again. So building up that skill is not only good for science education but it’s good across the board. It’s a meta-cognitive skill that translates across learning topics and across the lifespan.

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