Last week, the PiE Prep team and the high school students in Ralph Bunche High School took a break from their weekly STEM activities. Instead of designing paper rockets or building their own speakers, students were taught the basics for applying for college and financial aid. While many college bounded high-schoolers are filling out applications around this time of year, very few students from Ralph Bunch are actually thinking about higher education.

Here are some staggering statistics: The high school drop-out rate for the Oakland Unified School District is about 34.8%, with a 63% CAHSEE pass rate – and Ralph Bunche’s CAHSEE pass rate is just 30%.

Two weeks ago, we brought the students to the UC Berkeley Campus to show them a typical day in college. After an inspiring presentation from bioengineering professor Terry Johnson about engineering career paths, the students showed great interest in his research projects – and science. We hope that by building strong relationships with these student and exposing to them to the exciting world of STEM, they will be inspired to continue their education.