Students discover life skills through Tracy program

Scott F Wilson, LLNL, (925) 423-3125, wilson101@llnl.gov

Michael T. Martin speaks to 11th grade students at Kimball High School in Tracy.

The 2010-2011 school year found Laboratory employees Michael T. Martin, Juan Jose Hernandez, Paul A. Ramirez and Rey Bocanegra volunteering their time and talents to a new student program in Tracy called the Student Discovery Program (SDP).

Conceived by Mountain House resident and Tracy Kiwanis Club member Larry Fagg, SDP was designed to help high school students discover and develop life skills that will assist them in laying a foundation for their futures. The core features of the program encompass life experiences, leadership, mentoring, and college preparatory skills, and applied academics, presented by community volunteer instructors like Martin, Hernandez, Ramirez and Bocanegra.

Internships also are available in some fields. Other volunteer instructors come from a variety of backgrounds including government, business, law, health sciences and law enforcement. During the last school year, more than 50 SDP volunteer instructors reached some 2,000 students at Tracy's Kimball and Stein high schools, as well as the Academy for Business and Law at West High School.

Martin, a construction manager/inspector in the Operations and Business Directorate, presented a curriculum he developed on home building to juniors at Stein and Kimball high schools. Ramirez, of the Site 300 carpenters shop, shared the same material at the Academy for Business and Law at West High School. The coursework was presented in eight 45-minute class sessions to approximately 30 students over a period of eight months culminating in the students' clear understanding of what it would take to build their dream home. In a similar format, Hernandez, a computer scientist in the Computation Directorate, and Bocanegra, a nuclear and radiological safety assessor, presented a curriculum Hernandez developed on building computer programs.

"The Student Discovery Program was a great opportunity for me to talk to young people not only about what I do here at the Lab, but also about one of my passions -- home construction," said Martin. Paul and I took the students step-by-step through the process of building a home, with the students' design and construction ideas making it their own unique finished product."

For the 2011-2012 school year beginning in September, Fagg has set a goal of reaching nearly 3,000 students in Tracy. In order to do so, he has already begun recruiting the approximately 90-100 volunteer instructors needed to present existing curriculum in a classroom setting of 30-35 students.

Laboratory employees interested in learning more about SDP and how they can get involved may contact Scott Wilson in the Public Affairs Office at (925) 423-3125 or e-mail.

Founded in 1952, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory provides solutions to our nation's most important national security challenges through innovative science, engineering and technology. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is managed by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.