On Thursday, Feb. 6, I was able to attend a half-day event at Gilead, a major biotechnology company working towards inventions of new antiviral drugs. This school-sponsored field trip was attended by a mere two Burlingame students—myself and a freshman whose mother is a current employee. The lack of Burlingame students astounded me, as waves of kids from Aragon, Capuchino, San Mateo and other schools flooded in. This experience opened my eyes to the numerous career pathways in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. I was also able to meet amazing employees who told stories of how they got to where they are today. They were extremely helpful as they offered advice, answered my questions and even recommended summer internships to me. Groups of students were then led into conference rooms as we conducted experiments and furthered our understanding of STEM-related topics.
Field trips are an amazing way for students to learn more about a career that they are interested in, as they give the students a peek into the daily work lives of employees. However, Burlingame students are not taking advantage of these excursions. In addition to enhancing students’ knowledge, field trips allow for a break in their repetitive daily school schedule. In fact, the National Education Association reported that “regardless of gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, youth who take educational trips have better grades (59 percent).”
So why are Burlingame students not attending field trips? The reason is not lack of exposure, as the Gilead field trip was posted both in the daily bulletin and advertised in the Jan. 16 episode of BTV. These two resources are extremely helpful in educating students on events and opportunities happening here at Burlingame and in our community. The daily bulletin is not currently advertising any field trips as there are no upcoming events, but they do feature internships, jobs, scholarships and volunteer opportunities. These resources can inform students about field trips, an incredible and enriching experience that I strongly encourage students to utilize.