Launchpad Lunged a Deep Dive at Silicon Valley

Looking back at the Launchpad tour to Silicon Valley for two weeks in July through August – an experience to be immersed in the innovative hub where tech giants headquartered – it has been my pleasure to see students who have passion for coding going across the globe (6,899 miles to be exact) to experience the tech world first-hand! Here are some of the highlights of our tour!

 

Visits to Facebook and Googleplex

Among many visits to different tech headquarters, one of the highlights of the tour are visiting Facebook HQ and Google campus in San Jose! The staff gave us a tour around the main campus – their offices which offer a village where employees can gather, create and relax; students were thrilled to see snack bars, ice cream shop and arcade inside the campus! 

After the tour, we sat down with Facebook staff where they shared stories of their backgrounds; students were very curious and asked them a lot of insightful questions like how they’ve come to work for Facebook and how they see Facebook’s future. Our session was also live-streamed on Instagram and Facebook!

Group photo with Facebook staff!
We were listening intently to sharings from the friendly Facebook staff!

After our visit to Facebook HQs, I want to work here one day!”

Lucas (aged 14)

Visiting Intel Museum and Exploratorium

During the weekends, we got to do some sightseeing and visit different museums. Exploratorium is a unique place full of wonder where everyone can find exhibits using science, mechanics and physics! We had a lot of fun exploring the world through science! 

Here we are exploring the physics principles on lights and shadows; seeing our colorful shadows on the white canvas was so much fun!

We went to Chabot Space and Science Centre and got to watch a show about the moon in the planetarium there!

Vedika and I were learning about how craters are formed on the surface of the moon through interacting with this fun exhibit!
Chi, our main tour coordinator, was curious about what Collin and Andy were up to!

During our visit in Intel Museum, we learnt all about the history of an Intel chip and how to make a microprocessor. Some of us got to put on the famous Intel Bunny Suit to experience part of the Intel chip production; we also did Lego workshop to learn about the work process of the Intel engineers!

We were separated into groups to build a creative project using the assigned Lego toolkit.
Our group picture in front of the Intel Museum and office building!

 

Stay at Bowles Hall, the first residential college at UC Berkeley

The stunning exterior from Bowles Hall.  We woke up to this view every morning during our stay!

On the outside, Bowles Hall looks like something out of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. All of us got to live here for two weeks and experience what’s like to live in a university dorm, which a lot of us had never tried before!

 

Taking classes on web programming and doing our final projects!

Throughout our study tour, we took lessons to learn about HTML, CSS and Javascript and got to create our own webpage on the theme of social media. Towards the end of our trip, we got to present our final projects with our instructors and parents!

As the teaching assistant, I was helping out Lucas with some bugs on Javascript codes for his final project!
Eric, our instructor, laughed at something funny with Lucas and Brendon.
Duncan was presenting about the social media webpage, called Imglir, that he designed.
Hayden was showing us the codes of his webpage!

Launchpad is a great opportunity for the students to go abroad and experience life in a different setting, culture or otherwise, first-hand. It offers them a fresh perspectives on tech developments and innovations; more importantly, it inspires them to keep pursuing their coding passion and even a related career in their future!

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Rachel Ho

STEM instructor

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