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Young Engineer and Scientist (YES) Academy

Young Engineer and Scientist (YES) Academy

Established in Fall 2014, the UC Merced YES Academy is an outreach initiative between the UC Merced Fresno Center and the STEM Center. The goal of the YES Academy is to endorse STEM education by connecting UC Merced with local schools. Via demonstrations, lessons and hands-on activities, UC Merced undergraduate students and staff provide academic enrichment and STEM learning opportunities for K-8 students in the San Joaquin Valley. Educational activities are available to all students regardless of socioeconomic status and academic background. Recognizing the need for more females and underrepresented groups in STEM programs and careers, an emphasis is be made to reach out to these students.

The YES team receives a warm welcome in each school and children enjoy working side-by-side with UC Merced students. Survey results and the invitations our undergraduates receive to visit again, clearly demonstrate the success of each event. A sample highlights from one survey of 70 third-grade students from Walnut Grove K-8 school: 

- 73% of students surveyed want to attend college/university when they grow up

- 40% had not heard of UC Merced before our visit

- 89% of students are interested in science and engineering more now than they were before

Activites are scheduled by appointment (first come first serve basis) and designed via close collaboration with the participating school's lead person. Please, allow sufficient time for planning and organization.

Petia Gueorguieva, PhD, STEM Center Director, UC Merced,

Note of Appreciation: Brandy Ramos Nikaido and Priscila Villanueva, thank you for your wonderful lead and support for YES Academy!


UC Merced Lead Student Organizations: UC Merced student chapters of STEM-related professional organizations leading the YES Academy outreach: 

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)

Vanguard, School of Engineering, UC Merced

SACNAS at UC Merced

Society of Physics Students (SPS), a chapter of American Physical Society (APS)

Society of Women Engineers (SWE)

Ingenieros Unidos (IU), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)


Solar Energy Association


The MESA Lab


Location: Post-Covid 19, all activities are held on UC Merced campus, through interactive school field trips. Previous locations included elementary schools in Merced, Madera, Fresno, Los Banos, and Patterson school districts.

Facebook Link:

Media coverage:
Los Banos Enterprise: Lorena Falasco
Merced City School District: Peterson
Merced Sun-Star: Sheehy
UC Merced Magazine:
ABC 30: Yokomi
Fresno Unified School District: Yokomi
The Fresno Bee: Riverview
ABC 30: Riverview
The Madera Tribune: Howard
Patterson Joint Unified School District: Walnut Grove
Engineering Week Kids Day: UC Merced
UC Merced Newsroom: Pioneer Elementary School
El Capitan High School visit to UC Merced: El Capitan School Visit