The CORE Science Institute (CSI) at SLAC is a non-proﬁt entity founded in 2016 to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) enrichment programs among youth in the Bay Area. The main goal of this program is to grow SLAC’s community outreach endeavors, focus on increasing exposure to STEM ﬁelds amongst historically under-represented groups, and give the students involved a better understanding of what a career as a professional scientist/engineer entails.
Since 2016, the SLAC's CORE Science Institute has hosted underrepresented elementary and middle school students for a weeklong summer science program at SLAC every year. Through tours, hands-on projects, and career talks, students engage with laboratory staff, learn about the different careers needed to support SLAC’s scientific mission and cultivate a sense of belonging in science. Students learn how to think like scientists and engineers through experiments such as building magnet accelerators. For example, last year, by using magnets and ball bearings, they learned how charged particles interact with fields and built their own foam pipe marble roller coaster to test out principles of potential and kinetic energy. The week culminates on Friday with a student poster presentation, open to all SLAC staff, during which each group of students developed their science communication skills as they presented their poster to the audience.
The first two years of the program focused on high school students from the Greene Scholars Program, while the next two years welcomed middle school students from the Greene Scholars Program and Ile Omode School. In 2020 and 2021, the summer science program went virtual in partnership with The Social Engineering Project and Science in the City, with participation from over 50 SLAC volunteers who guided 75 middle school students from across the country through various projects using science kits mailed to their homes.
CSI has historically been supported by a combination of funding from SLAC projects, fundraising events, and corporate donors in partnership with the groups that attend the summer program. Fundraising eﬀorts are ongoing as the program expands to accommodate more students and keep activities up to date.