Cal Poly, the Da Vinci Schools and Northrop Grumman Create Seamless Pathway for Future Engineers

With a curriculum based on hands-on, interdisciplinary projects that address real-world problems, the Da Vinci Schools already seem dialed into Cal Poly. The charter schools located in Hawthorne, Calif. — Da Vinci Design, Da Vinci Science and Da Vinci Communications — are also Cal Poly Partner Schools, which serve a low-income population and have low percentages of students advancing to college.

With the establishment of a multi-faceted scholarship and support program this year, Northrop Grumman has boosted the connections between Da Vinci Schools and Cal Poly to create an integrated pathway for the development of future engineering leaders.

Components of the pathways program includes designation of Northrop Grumman Scholars, the Northrop Grumman Summer Institute Scholarship, and Northrop Grumman Multicultural Engineering Program (MEP) Mentors.

Northrop Grumman Scholars receive financial support and proactive advising to ensure that they remain on track to meet academic requirements. The first Northrop Grumman Scholars include Da Vinci engineering freshmen Becky Lu (Mechanical Engineering) and Johnnie Joseph (Aerospace Engineering), and sophomore Chan Le (Computer Science).

The Summer Institute introduces freshmen to Cal Poly and allows them to take several units of general education credit over a three-week period during summer. Lu and Joseph attended this year, thanks to their Northrop Grumman Summer Institute Scholarships. 

 MEP, which provides social networking and academic advising to engineering students, now coordinates with the Da Vinci counseling office to offer campus visits and encourage Cal Poly attendance. Additionally, Northrop Grumman supports a peer mentoring program, the Northrop Grumman MEP Mentors, who serve the Northrop Grumman Scholars.

In addition to these efforts, Northrop Grumman supports a Cal Poly math professor to engage with Da Vinci teachers to help map a mathematics curriculum that prepares students for entry into a rigorous engineering degree program.

Six Da Vinci students celebrated their admission to Cal Poly at their high school graduation. They include (left to right) Jena Van Gerwen (Environmental Earth Science), Tia Troxel (Environmental Management and Protection), Brandon Perez (Construction Management), Samuel Caldwell (Biochemistry), Becky Lu (Mechanical Engineering) and Johnnie Joseph (Aerospace Engineering).