California Institute of Technology: STEM Academic Boot Camp

Apply now to be part of our free one-week STEM academic boot camp for service members and veterans in partnership with the California Institute of Technology!

This week-long STEM academic boot camp prepares service members and veterans for the challenges and rigor of a STEM bachelor’s degree program. Using a physics-based curriculum, veterans and service members will gain skills to help them succeed with their transition from the military to higher education.

During this week-long boot camp, students are taught by professors from our partner college and mentored by peers who have completed the program and successfully transitioned to college.

California Institute of Technology Cohort and Cornell University Cohort

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

Before joining WSP, I attended various community schools to attain my associate’s degree. I did not consider myself a confident student while attending post-service schooling. But my mindset changed while attending WSP, and I gained skills for my future education. 

Had you participated in any sort of virtual learning before? If so, how does your WSP experience compare to that?

I had previously participated in virtual learning, but nothing compares to the WSP experience. WSP’s virtual learning experience has taught me that there is a possibility for true discussions, collaborations, and communication while in a virtual learning environment. This was completely different from what I’ve experienced before. 

Why were you excited to participate in WSP this summer?

I was excited to participate in WSP this summer due to my hopes for the program. I hoped to see this program be in a learning environment with like-minded individuals with a commonality of background: the military culture, life, and views. 

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

I learned various essential skills while participating in WSP. Those skills include social and educational communication, study skills, and dissecting information. These are crucial skills that are needed for future education opportunities that will ensure success in school. Other skills that I learned during WSP are reviewing techniques and making important notes to comprehend materials for the course (mainly readings). 

What was your favorite session, and why?

I can confidently say that my favorite part was the writing workshops. They allowed me to challenge myself and attain feedback regarding my writings. I have received valuable input that will be crucial for my transition to college. 

Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you at WSP?

All the instructors and fellows have made a difference in their own way. With Jazzmen, I built a connection with our similarities in life that made me feel comfortable to speak at ease. Harry’s comedic input and direct communication method helped me retain information and make notes for future use. Manny’s earnest and humble communication methods and directions also made me feel comfortable asking questions and keeping an open mind. When Ethan spoke, it made me pay attention to his words. His method of communicating made me feel at ease to ask questions. Whether I was right or not, he made me feel comfortable still providing answers and comments without feeling lost.

Is WSP having any effect on how confident you feel as a student?

WSP had had a positive effect on my confidence as a student. I feel that I am more prepared for future avenues that my academic goals may take me. I no longer feel mentally or academically unprepared for the next steps. This experience was worthwhile!

Soldiers are no strangers to boot camp, but those who participate in the Warrior-Scholar Project (WSP) trade drill sergeants and physical training for world-class researchers and an intensive introduction to education in science and technology. This summer, 17 active-duty service members and veterans completed a weeklong academic boot camp featuring scientists from Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which the Institute manages for NASA. (continued)

Read the full article here.