At ages 11 through 18, students attending Stanford classes this past weekend were a little younger than your typical college student.
Stanford hosted its annual Stanford Splash program Saturday and Sunday, with approximately two thousand local middle and high schoolers (grades seven through twelve) in attendance.
A program aimed at opening up the world of education to younger students, Splash is a two-day learning marathon where Stanford students, both undergraduate and graduate, as well as other community members, volunteer to teach classes on any subject.
“Every fall and spring, 1,500 to 2,000 kids come to Stanford for the weekend and take classes all designed and taught by Stanford students,” said Brian Ngo ’18, co-director of Splash this year. “[Splash] is a great opportunity to explore things here they might not have in public education.”
“Splash reaches out to students who may have never thought about going to a school like [Stanford] before,” said Cindy Nguyen ’19, a member of Splash’s organizational team.
Splash classes are grouped into eight different categories, from traditional subjects such as writing and reading to areas like life skills and hobbies. Topics range from “What Your Body Looks Like on the Inside” to “The Power of Algae.”
“[Volunteers] are allowed to teach on anything they want, usually a topic they are very passionate about,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen, who attended the program herself before coming to Stanford, is also one the program’s many teachers this year. She partnered with fellow student Shelby Parks ’19 to teach a class about the protein CRISPR to high schoolers.
“CRISPR is a genomic editing system that is very new in the biotechnology industry. We [taught] kids what CRISPR stands for, what it looks like on the molecular level, possible uses for it and the controversy behind it,” said Nguyen.
Their class was 45 minutes long, with a short activity at the end. Other classes range from one to four hours and can be lecture style, hands-on or more discussion based. Classes run from nine o’clock to six o’clock both days of the program.
“My favorite part is being able to to teach something I am passionate about to students still trying to discover their own passion,” Nguyen said.
The total cost of attending Splash is $40, with fee waivers provided if requested. Sibling discounts were also made available to the students. The Splash team publicized the event at local schools, also offering transportation to and from the event.
Splash was originally founded at MIT, with Stanford being the second school to adopt the program. With the success of Splash spreading, the program is now offered at various schools, including Cornell and Cal.
Each year the national Splash team sends ambassadors from each school to attend Splash at other schools. This year, Stanford hosted ambassadors from several schools across the country.
Bailey Tulloch, who runs Rice University’s Splash program, represented Rice at Stanford this weekend. She said size is the biggest difference between Rice’s Splash and Stanford’s.
“Last year [Rice] had 250 kids attend and [are] hoping for 500 this year. Also, the way [Splash] is structured is different. [Stanford] has a huge admin team; for us we have three people running it,” said Tulloch.
“We also focus more on low-income kids because we want them to consider college an option, since many kids in Houston don’t,” added Tulloch.
Contact Arielle Rodriguez at arielle3 ‘at’ stanford.edu.