The San Francisco 49ers and Chevron unveiled the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Fabrication (Fab) Lab at Santa Clara High School in collaboration between the 49ers Foundation, the Silicon Valley Education Foundation (SVEF), the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) and Chevron. In addition to the incoming class of freshman enrolled in the 49ers STEM Leadership Institute (SLI) that began their high school careers last month, the new state-of-the-art digital Fab Lab will also be open to the community.
"The Fab Lab at Santa Clara High School is a resource for inspiration for our future STEM leaders and the greater Santa Clara community," said 49ers co-chairman John York. "These students are excited by education, learning to be leaders and seeking solutions in their world. Further augmenting the 49ers Foundation's mission to keep kids 'Safe, On Track, and In School' in support of helping young people reach their full potential, we are excited to continue our work with Chevron in environments that allow our 49ers STEM Leadership Institute students flourish."
Fab Labs give students experience working with tools, machinery and technology used today in STEM-related industries and helps them develop the critical skills needed to prepare them to become inventors and innovators of the future. The Fab Lab features a suite of digital fabrication tools and prototyping machines such as laser cutters, 3D printers, vinyl cutters and milling machines, used for "making almost anything."
The 49ers Foundation, with the vision of inspiring the STEM leaders of the future, launched its collaborative education venture – the 49ers SLI – with 60 high-achieving 7th graders at the Chevron STEM Zone at Cabrillo Middle School in Santa Clara in July 2014. The six-year program exposes students to a rigorous curriculum of STEM, strengthening their skills to prepare them for eventual entry to colleges in STEM fields and STEM careers.
"Chevron's partnership with the 49ers Foundation provides an important platform to help expand opportunities for students to explore STEM education," said Mike Wirth, executive vice president, Chevron Midstream and Development. "The Fab Lab will provide students with hands-on learning and resources that we hope will encourage them to pursue STEM education and ultimately STEM careers."
Students enrolled in the 49ers SLI Program receive over 300 additional hours of education annually for six years. The program focuses on four main areas: 1) Academic excellence, 2) Leadership development, 3) Task commitment (through increased risk-taking determination, and initiative), and 4) Creativity (through development of curiosity and imagination).