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Pre College Programs for Engineering Diversity

Pre-College Math Institute / Valdes Math

The Pre-College Math Institute (PCMI) / Valdes Math was founded in 1992 as a joint effort between Stanford University School of Engineering and Redwood City School District, as an outreach program to connect Stanford students to middle school students in their neighboring community. PCMI / Valdes Math provides six weeks of intensive math curriculum for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. The program offers four levels of math, ranging from basic math to algebra. Classrooms are run by certified teachers from Redwood City School District, and assisted by 6 Stanford student tutors, who act as role models and provide intensive math tutoring in support of the teacher's lessons.

 On average, PCMI / Valdes Math students gain over a one year growth in math ability during the six-week program. The program, with the joint support of host campus Stanford University, and the Redwood City School District staff, has become a solid example of K-12 education initiative and community outreach.

Program Vision

The founders and staff of PCMI / Valdes Math strongly believe that math can be an equalizing force among underrepresented minorities in an educational setting. PCMI / Valdes Math attempts to build student confidence in math through daily testing, one-on-one staff interaction with students, and a positive, achievement-oriented environment.

The Pre-College Math Institute / Valdes Math is designed to expose underrepresented minority students to the possibility of a career in math, science or engineering. Math classes are combined with science projects, such as construction and launching of bottle rockets, as well as with mentoring and advising, and recreational activities, like weekly swimming sessions, a T-shirt design contest, and weekly assemblies.

PCMI / Valdes Math also engages students in a university environment, by contact with Stanford students, graduate students, and faculty. Finally, PCMI attempts to build skills that will assist students throughout their high school careers, such as study skills, self-teaching, test-taking, and a strong work ethic. 

For Redwood City students and parents:

Applications for PCMI / Valdes Math 2018 will be available through Redwood City schools beginning in the spring of 2018. Please contact your school principals or teachers with questions about this program or visit

For Stanford tutors:

The 2018 PCMI staffing application Deadline is February 2018. 

Level Playing Field Institute - Summer Math And Science Honors Academy (SMASH)


SMASH is a state of the art Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) summer enrichment program at the UC Berkeley and Stanford campuses. Since 2011, LPFI selects high-potential, low-income high school students of color to participate in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) focused SMASH Academy at Stanford University. While living on campus for five weeks, students experience college and are compelled to learn to prioritize their efforts and manage their full schedules. Through study session, scholars are exposed to the concepts of office hours and of seeking help from instructors, teaching assistants, and peers. SMASH scholars also receive year-round academic support including SAT prep, college counseling, financial aid workshops, and other activities to ensure continued academic success. 

Program Vision

The objectives of such a program are as follows:

  • Prepare students from underrepresented communities to be competitive in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) related studies  at competitive universities.
  • Educate students about graduate school opportunities and encourage them to eventually attend in order to further pursue professional, STEM-related studies or careers.
  • Encourage a sense of social responsibility through promotion of critical thinking, civic awareness and leadership.

With its finely tuned integrated curriculum, SMASH guides its scholars through an inquiry-based process that allows them to use math and science to solve real-world problems of relevance to them. They learn content through its application, and have access to modern lab equipment. Through research projects and group work, scholars complete college-like assignments.

The Summer Math and Science Honors (SMASH) Academy is:

  • A three-year 5-week summer math and science enrichment program;
  • For high achieving, low-income high school students of color;
  • Focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM);
  • Successful in preparing scholars for college and achievement in higher education;
  • Free of cost.

SMASH scholars spend five weeks each summer at a SMASH site on a college campus (currently at Stanford, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UCLA and Morehouse College) immersed in rigorous STEM classes.  They also receive year-round academic support including SAT prep, college counseling, financial aid workshops and other activities to ensure continued academic success.

SMASH students live in campus housing in gender-specific suites. Campus housing activities are monitored by trained resident assistants. Scholars participate in planned weekly recreational activities, and have use of many terrific campus resources in their limited free time. Room and board are free to all SMASH Academy scholars.

For students and parents:

Applications for SMASH 2018 are available through the SMASH website.

For Stanford tutors:

Information about joining the LPFI team as a tutor, graduate lecturer, and workshop leader can be found here.

Computer Science Institute-Leadership Education and Development

Stanford will not be hosting the Computer Science Institute-LEAD for summer 2018.

K-12 Education Initiatives

Stanford Student Coursework Opportunities:

Several other K-12 outreach efforts are organized and implemented by Stanford students, who have the option to enroll in individualized instruction (Engineering 199), for course credit. Through Engineering 199, Stanford students have the opportunity to provide "minds-on, hands-on" presentations that bridge the abstract nature of theories to practical examples. The presentations make math, science, and engineering more understandable, and therefore more accessible to young students. These instructional presentations also highlight the contributions made to math, science and technology made by underrepresented minorities.

Stanford University Initiatives:

Stanford University firmly believes in the importance of educational programs for middle school and high school students. Research has shown that the best way to increase socio-economic diversity in higher education is to improve opportunities for students in their K-12 years.

More About Stanford's Support of K-12 Education

Stanford Report: President Announces Stanford Challenge

More About Engineering Outreach in K-12

ASEE Prism: Year of Dialogue--Getting the Word Out

Research Internships for High School Students