Programs at the Level Playing Field Institute improve access, provide opportunity, and create equity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
LPFI believes in the importance of linking direct service programs and research in order to understand the effectiveness of our interventions, inform the continual improvement of STEM programming, and expand the existing body of knowledge on improving outcomes for underrepresented students in STEM. Through our programs, we aim to move the needle on diversifying STEM fields
The Summer Math and Science Honors Academy is a STEM-intensive, college preparatory program for underrepresented high students of color. SMASH boasts a rigorous 5-week, 3-year summer STEM enrichment program which provides access to rigorous coursework and access to mentors, role models, and support networks of students of color. SMASH scholars remain engaged during the year through monthly STEM activities and workshops.
The Saturday Math and Science Honors Preparatory Program is a year-round Saturday program for African American males in grades 6-8, which provides mathematics, computer science, and digital communications curriculum taught through a social justice lens and prepares students with the interest, skills, and experiences necessary to pursue STEM studies in high school and beyond.
The SMASH:Connect Mentoring program matches SMASH alumni with STEM professionals in the Bay Area and beyond. The SMASH:Connect program is designed to support the academic, professional, and social development of SMASH alumni currently pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in the STEM fields at some of the nation’s most premiere colleges and universities.
Our CS Initiatives focus on providing computer science (CS) exposure to students underrepresented in computer science through hackathons, workshops, and school district-wide programming. This includes a partnership with the National Science Foundation to prepare students to take and pass the AP Computer Science A exam and provide professional development for instructors, as well as with Oakland Unified School District to bring CS to more underrepresented students.
The LPFI research agenda on STEM Equity and Opportunity focuses on examining inequity in access and opportunity for underrepresented students of color in K-12 STEM education, understanding social/psychological mechanisms impacting engagement and persistence in STEM, and assessing the effectiveness of STEM intervention programs for middle and high school students of color.