San Diego Mesa College Foundation was selected to receive a generous grant from the
Science & Technology Grants Program from the San Diego Foundation on January 15, 2018.
This funded the opportunity for Mesa College STEM students to participate in a field
trip on Friday, March 2, 2018 entitled Tierra Excursion. The trip included a tour
of Wild Willow Farm, a sustainable farm with educational resources, and a visit to
the Tijuana River Estuary, an area of land in Imperial Beach where the Tijuana River
meets the Pacific Ocean.
Wild Willow Farm offered the STEM scholars the opportunity to learn about sustainable
management and business practices, and sustainable efforts relative to the environment.
Their time at the farm was divided into four sections – kid’s garden, herbs and history,
plants and their uses, and the earthworm – in order for the students to learn about
how profits are generated through sustainable farm work. Experiencing a day of work
at this organization gave some of the STEM scholars the chance to envision themselves
in their future careers. STEM scholar and Environmental Engineer Major Flavia DePlachett
shared, “If not for these field trips, I would not be able to see how vast my options
are as a STEM major… The exposure that these field trips provide is a great chance
for us students to become excellent professionals by choosing what matches our goals
and personalities the best.”
Through their experience, students were also able to draw connections between the field trip to the farm and larger concepts in
life. STEM Scholar and Molecular Biology Neuroscience Major Tahmina Habibzada stated,
“A healthy garden is like a healthy mind – the more time and effort we put into ourselves
the better we become.”
Students also gained knowledge about particular species from their visit to the Tijuana
River Estuary where they spoke with Rangers about migratory patterns of birds in the
United States and outer regions. After their time with the Ranger, students were encouraged
to practice their “elevator speech” with their fellow classmates.
These experiences from the Tierra Excursion field trip would not have been possible,
if not for the grant. Students had the opportunity to apply and receive one of 13
available $5,000 STEM Stipend for spring 2018. As a condition of the grant, students
must attend five out of six field trips, be enrolled in at least one class at San
Diego Mesa College, be a STEM major or hold interest in a STEM program. Up to 35 additional
students were able to qualify for all-expense paid STEM career field trips. Additional
funding under the HSI/Title III STEM Conexiones Program was provided for these initiatives. To learn more, please contact HIS Grant Manager
Dr. Leticia Lopez at email@example.com.
Tags: Tierra Excursion, STEM Students, Wild Willow Farm, Tijuana River Estuary, STEM, STEM Scholars, STEM Field Trip, STEM Conexiones