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SDSU Pathways Helps Close STEM Achievement Gap

High School students participate in (STEM) 2 Exploration Day at SDSU,  April ...

Photo by Ebone Monet

Above: High School students participate in (STEM) 2 Exploration Day at SDSU, April 6, 2018.

San Diego is a hub for tech startups and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation reports these industries offer more job security and higher pay. However, EDC researchers anticipate a local shortage in high-skilled workers.

An EDC report points out that Hispanics will be the majority population in San Diego by 2030. The report also shows currently 34 percent of San Diego's Hispanics population do not finish high school. Therefore, EDC researchers say this population is "statistically least prepared for high-skilled, high-waged jobs."

Video by Roland Lizarondo

San Diego State University's Pre-College Institute works with students in low-income neighborhoods to help them become better prepared for college. Pathways is one of its programs. Pathways tutors such as Estefani Hernandez work with San Diego county students from elementary to high school in low-income communities.

Hernandez tutors students at Wilson Middle School. She was a student there about fifteen years ago. Hernandez studies math at SDSU.

“I feel like the benefits are humongous. I feel like the majority of the time many students don’t have someone that’s there for them, or just, they don’t envision going to college,” said Hernandez about the benefits of tutoring kids.

Hernandez said she struggled with math, but that changed when a middle school teacher encouraged her.

“I think it’s important to be positive role models to many of the younger generations, because I feel a lot of the time, many students don’t have role models in their everyday lives," Hernandez said. "So they don’t really have someone to say, 'Hey, you can go to college,' or 'Hey, you can be at SDSU' or 'Hey, you can be at UCLA.'”

Hernandez plans to be part of the solution. She plans to teach mathematics. She said she developed a passion for getting through to students who may be resistant to math.

“Many students learn differently, so I feel like it’s very challenging sometimes say, for a student that can’t read very well, but he has to read math, so I feel like we have to work together and make the best out of it in order for them to succeed,” Hernandez said.

Photo by Ebone Monet

High school students take part in (STEM)2 Exploration Day at SDSU, April 6, 2018.

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