Rialto’s Students Visit NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Deborah Robertson with Rialto students on the morning before the field trip; e3p3 Summer Bridge program graduates are wearing gray shirts in the front row.

Rialto, CALIF.) – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) welcomed 21 Rialto students who toured the facility for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Initiative. Students had visited the Spacecraft Assembly Facility, Space Flight Operations Facility, and the “Mars Yard” to see the twin of the Curiosity Mars Rover.

“I was so excited,” said Rialto Frisbie Middle School eighth grader and year one Summer Bridge graduate Cassandra Alvarez, “I’m looking forward to learning more about the Mars Rover.”

City of Rialto and other students get an introduction to the NASA JPL facility before diving into the day’s events. Photo by: Jazminn Diaz

The initiative, launched in February 2014, addresses persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and their sisters in reaching their full potential. A goal of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative is to instill a passion for Computer Science, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM.)

Deborah Robertson with NASA Astronaut class of 2040 (Rialto students) in front of the Space Flight Operations Facility control room. Photo by: Jazminn Diaz

“This is an awesome day for the youth of Rialto, we are one of only four organizations visiting JPL today, and the only group selected from San Bernardino County,” said Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson, who went with the students to JPL.  “It was so exciting to see the joy in the children’s faces as they learned about space and space technology.”

The City of Compton, Long Beach Neighborhood Services Bureau, and LA County Supervisor Solis’ students also attended. Each group brought youth who do not traditionally have the opportunity to visit local NASA Labs and Centers to JPL.

The Rialto Police Department’s Officer Javier Pulido and several other community-based organizations were instrumental in identifying youth from last year’s e3p3 GIP’s Summer Bridge program that showed promise and interest in STEM.

Students from Rialto boarding bus for what is sure to be a fun filled day at the NASA – Jet Propulsion Lab. Photo by: Jazminn Diaz

Ten of the students selected to go on the trip are distinguished graduates from year one of the Rialto’s e3p3 Gang Intervention and Prevention (GIP) program.

“The Rialto’s GIP project targets twelve-hundred Rialto Unified School District elementary and middle school students to receive classroom instruction and become Resilient, Empowered, and Directed. This field trip advances our efforts of helping youth become directed, immensely!” said Nate Van Cleve, project manager from M.H.M. & Associates.

The Rialto e3p3 GIP program receives grant funding from the Board of State of Community Corrections and is currently in its second year.   A select group of approximately 100 youth take part in a rigorous and highly interactive 12-week e3p3 Summer Bridge program, each summer.

For more information, contact City of Rialto – Office Javier Pulido at 909-421-4944

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