August 2020 Newsletter
Hands-On STEM Activity: The Science of Flight
Virtual Camp Survey
What's Happening with Girls Take Flight in 2020?
Board Spotlight: Mary Taylor, M.A.
Rhymes with Reason: Free Online Learning
Donor Spotlight: Joe & Molly Vasquez
Give When You Shop
Mathemagicians Homework Club
Donate to EIS
The Science of Flight: Engineering Paper Airplanes

August 19 is National Aviation Day and we are celebrating with a fun engineering activity from EIS instructor Mr. Justin in the video below. You can also download a PDF on how to engineer the perfect airplane on our website

Are You Interested in Virtual Camps?

We are looking for families' opinions about future virtual programs at EIS. We would appreciate your input!

Please take our short survey.

Girls Take Flight Update

Girls Take Flight began its third year this February with a series of kick-off events attended by more than 150 high school girls. The events introduced students to women working with drones and in drone-related industries, explored the use of drones, and told them about the opportunity to build, fly and operate drones. The next scheduled phase of the program was our spring drone camp. Originally scheduled for late March, this year’s camp was rescheduled due to the COVID-29 pandemic and converted into a virtual event that happened in June. The camp brought together 23 students from different southeastern San Diego high schools for one week to learn more about drone careers, the ethical use of drones and to meet female STEM professionals.

The final phase of Girls Take Flight, a 150-hour practicum, started with 10 girls in early July. Unfortunately, the County ordered a new shut-down the week after the practicum began which caused to us to cancel the program. Fortunately, students were able to receive valuable experience with a virtual drone simulator and learned how to build a drone. 

Although the program was cancelled, in early August we provided an opportunity for some of the girls to get hands-on experience in the field flying drones.

Feedback from this year’s program was positive. Students were excited to learn more about how they could use drones in their future careers, were motivated by the guest speakers, and felt more prepared to take on technology courses in college.

Board Spotlight: Mary Taylor, M.A.

Mary Taylor joined the EIS Board of Directors because supporting students in underserved schools with hands-on STEM activities resonated with her. “I am drawn to work that promotes access and opportunity for these students and saw membership on the EIS Board of Directors as a way to express that commitment.” said Mary. She originally became involved with EIS when enrolling her son and nieces in EIS Summer Camp. After attending one of these camps, her son was excited to tell his mom about his experience dissecting a sheep’s heart. “I am sure that his experience at EIS provided the foundation for his love of science. He just graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in Neuroscience.”

Mary Taylor was the Interim Executive Director for part of 2017 and is currently the Executive Director at SDSU Center for Educational Partnerships, Outreach and Success. She earned her B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, San Diego and her M.A. in Higher Education from San Diego State University. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.

Her experience as a first generation college graduate in her family has inspired her to become an ardent advocate for students. “I have always had a passion for supporting and advocating for students,” stated Mary, “especially those who are underrepresented, first-generation, and without access to all that our educational system has to offer. I plan to remain tireless in my efforts to combat all forms of racism and inequity, especially those that obstruct the path of the students we serve.”

EIS is grateful to have Mary Taylor on our Board of Directors. Her long-term involvement in EIS and continuous support for students has helped strengthen EIS in our community.


Rhymes with Reason: Free Online Learning 

Increase Verbal Skills and Vocabulary

Through the generous support of the Moxie Foundation, EIS is able to offer a FREE online learning opportunity this summer in conjunction with Rhymes with Reason (RWR) (, a digital learning resource that helps students build verbal & literacy skills via hip-hop and popular music. For grade 5 and older.


Rhymes with Reason was founded by 25 year old San Diego Native, Austin Martin who was recently recognized as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 in Education and is an Ed.M candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2021.
EIS and Rhymes with Reason are teaming up to provide 200 students with free access for 1 year.

Please visit and enter the code EISRWR2020 for FREE ACCESS.



Donor Spotlight: Joe & Molly Vasquez

EIS has thrived for more than 50 years because supporters like Joe & Molly Vasquez understand the importance of science education for students and the need for equity in education.  One reason is that their daughter, Kelli, is a 5th/6th grade teacher of Math and Science at a gifted school in Virginia. Another is that like many supporters, they see the connection of early STEM education and how it relates to present and future career opportunities. As Joe said, “We support EIS because we believe in what they're doing. The need to teach science, engineering, computing, technology, etc. for all kids but especially in this neighborhood [is vital]. For this generation these are basic survival skills.”
Their involvement with EIS began when Don Short (Dean of Science at SDSU and EIS Board President at the time) asked Joe to attend a Board Meeting and share his ideas and thoughts about EIS. Inspired by the mission of EIS and the people involved, Joe soon joined the Board of Directors. At the time, the biggest challenge for EIS was expanding to serve the growing number of students interested in science education. The Board decided that a larger facility was the best step forward. With early support from the Jacobs family and an outpouring of community support, the campaign eventually raised $6 million to construct our current 15,000-square foot STEM learning center. “The campaign to raise funds for the new building is my treasured memory because of the hard work and time that everyone (students, Board, staff) put in and what we learned from the Jacobs staff (Jennifer, Sue and the rest of the team).” said Joe.
After earning his law degree from the University of California, Joe spent his career in higher education, working at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego and San Diego State University where he retired from in 2004. Molly moved to San Diego from Michigan in 1968 and went to work at the University of California San Diego as assistant to the Vice President Student Affairs. The two met at UCSD in 1976 and have been serving their community together ever since.
Over the years, EIS has been a rewarding experience for the Vasquez’s that has impacted their lives in many ways. “My favorite memories were talking to Tom Watts about EIS.” said Molly. Joe agrees “We have so many great memories of former students, Board members and staff. It's been rewarding to play a role in meeting the challenges, and seeing the changes that EIS has gone through and knowing that because of our efforts it will be here for a long time to come.”
EIS is grateful for the generous support of Joe and Molly Vasquez. Their long term contributions have positively impacted thousands of youth and will continue to do so for many more.


 Give When You Shop!

Here are three easy ways to give to EIS when you shop!

Ralphs Grocery
When you select the Elementary Institute of Science as your designated charity, Ralph's will donate a percentage of your purchase to our STEM education programs. Click this link to easily sign up.

Before you start your shopping on Amazon, start at and Amazon will donate .0.5% of your spending to the charity of your choice. 

Rite Aid 
Round up your change when you shop at Rite Aid to raise funds for EIS. Sign up to participate in Rite Aid's KidCents program:
Join the Saturday Mathemagician Homework Club! Our wonderful volunteers Sanjana and Vanitha are offering their support online.

If you would like to participate send an email to Include in your email, your child’s grade and math concepts they are working on (or share an attachment of their homework).  They will offer help, more practice problems or worksheets. This includes SAT math help as well. They will monitor this email daily so you don’t have to wait until Saturday to ask for help.

You can also join the Saturday afternoon online meetup from 12:00-12:45 pm
Donate to EIS

This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Elementary Institute of Science · 608 51st Street · San Diego, CA 92114 · USA