Lewis Middle School, Qualcomm combine for Thinkabit

Posted: Friday, December 4th 2015

Working on a project in the Qualcomm Thinkabit lab at Lewis Middle School

Lewis Middle School in Allied Gardens is one of three San Diego County schools that now has a dedicated space for STEM education inspired by the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab.

The replication of the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at Lewis will inspire young generations from all backgrounds to explore and pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, as well as its commitment to contribute to San Diego’s development as a center of innovation and educational excellence. It also reinforces Qualcomm’s commitment to the next generations of San Diegans.

“For the past two years San Diego Unified and Qualcomm have partnered to cultivate innovation in both teaching and learning through the Thinkabit Lab,” said Cindy Marten, Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District Superintendent. “The Thinkabit Lab has made engineering real and empowered our children, allowing them to wonder, to dream, and to see their creativity come to life.

“We thank Qualcomm for their generous gift of a Thinkabit Lab to Lewis Middle School and their commitment to all of San Diego’s youth and are grateful to have found a friend in the industry whose ideals align so closely with our own.”

As part of San Diego Unified’s College Career Technical Education Program, today’s Lewis Middle School students can continue into advanced engineering classes at their neighborhood high school, Patrick Henry High School. Graduates of that program go on to many prestigious universities, some receiving scholarships as a result of their engineering acheivements in high school.

Since the first Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab opened in March 2014 at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, more than 3,000 students from a diverse set of 35 San Diego schools have been exposed to STEM; 1,500 “robo-crafts” have been built and presented; 1,300 community and industry professionals have visited, and 230 teachers have observed and actively participated in the lab. By opening these three new labs within the middle school campuses themselves, Qualcomm is helping ensure that more students and teachers have regular access to dedicated space that encourages creativity, collaboration and the development of critical skills necessary for the 21st century classroom.

The event was attended by a cross-section of community members in San Diego, including students, teachers, parents and school administrators. San Diego Mayor, Kevin Faulconer addressed the audience, along with Marten and fellow superintendents Francisco Escobedo, of the Chula Vista School District, and Devin Vodicka, Vista School District. Representing Qualcomm was Bill Bold, senior vice president for government affairs. Schools in the Vista and Chula Vista districts also received their own Thinkabit labs.

“Inspiring and motivating local youth to excel in STEM subjects is vital to building the nation’s brightest workforce right here in San Diego,” said Kevin L. Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego.
“The Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab serves as a model for the rest of the country by exposing more kids to STEM career paths, encouraging them to study STEM and preparing them for new opportunities in the 21st century,” he said.

Bold said the company is committed to giving back to the community and to help foster the next generation of engineers.

“Qualcomm believes it is our responsibility to increase awareness about STEM career paths and inspire and encourage students to pursue STEM-related education," said Bill Bold, senior vice president for government affairs of Qualcomm Inc. “Qualcomm is proud to help San Diego middle schools fill the STEM gap by replicating our Thinkabit Lab and providing teachers and students with regular access to unique, real-world engineering projects.”

Bold added that Qualcomm has long worked to improve science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education at all levels, expanding opportunities for the next generation of inventors. In addition to the Thinkabit Lab, Qualcomm supports STEM education initiatives such as:

  • FIRST Robotics: Over the last 10 years, Qualcomm has been a sponsor of FIRST Robotics, an international competition in which more than 400K students from 40 countries have learned to program robots in a real world-engineering environment.
  • Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech): To ensure a future where more women pursue STEM careers, Qualcomm has helped more than 5,000 women enhance their technology skills through summer camps, team challenges, online mentoring and global scholarships.

Many guests at the Dec. 3 event brought small toys for the students, which the budding scientists will use to create robots by adding motors and other mechanical features.

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