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Berkeley Lab has become a major sustainer of Rising Sun, empowering youth and adult participants to achieve environmental and economic sustainability. Berkeley Lab has also provided a fundamental focus on STEM career and education opportunities. Rising Sun’s Climate Careers program introduces youth to sustainable career pathways and Berkeley Lab has been a key supporter in this practice.

In 2017, Berkeley Lab created a unique Design Challenge opportunity for our youth participants. Twenty youth were invited to visit Berkeley Lab and were challenged to think outside the box and create a home with as close to zero net energy as possible on a $10,000 budget. As an extra treat, their proposals were judged by some of the scientists working on creating such a solution, as well as representatives from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office and Senator Nancy Skinner’s Office.  The Design Challenge was so successful that the activity was offered again in 2018, and the plan is to make it an annual event moving forward.

In addition to the Design Challenge, for the past two years, Berkeley Lab has offered a fantastic career exposure opportunity to over 150 youth by inviting a diverse roster of early career scientists and researchers from their lab to serve as panelists at youth program orientation. Youth have the chance to learn from the incredible people at Berkeley Lab in a private and intimate setting. One panelist, Robin Lopez, a Berkeley Lab Research Associate, says,

“Engaging with the rising leaders and scholars of Rising Sun is a necessary responsibility I have as a person who identifies as a scientist and person of marginalized backgrounds. I’m often told it’s a privilege for young people to hear me speak; rather, it’s a privilege for me to be in the same room of future leaders who will undoubtedly shape the face of science, policy, and social accountability.”

With supporters like Berkeley Lab, Rising Sun is better able to educate youth on the importance of environmental conservation while exposing them to career opportunities in the green field. In 2017, over 70% of youth reported that their future plans were positively impacted by the CYES program.

For more information on how to collaborate with our programs, please reach out to Director of Programs Travers McNeice at mcneice@risingsunopp.org.

For more information about Berkeley Lab’s amazing work, please visit their website, www.lbl.gov.

Written by: Jennifer Vega, Marketing and Graphic Design Manager