The Human Capital Paradigm

Creating the Next Generation of Technical and Scientific Leaders

CAHSEE's Strategic Human Capital Development Paradigm
Charles E. Vela

Guiding Principle

In science, technology, medicine, economics and society, as well as other areas of human endeavors, we are constantly faced with intricate and complex problems that surpass our capabilities and capacities to address them. The creation of strategic human capital, capable of successfully addressing these types of problems, is an ever-present challenge to humanity.

For the past ten years, CAHSEE has sought ways to successfully develop strategic human capital, drawing from primarily underprivileged segments of our society. We are guided by the belief that children are capable of achieving excellence if properly stimulated, guided and challenged from an early age.
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Human Capital Development Paradigm

Math, science and engineering education provides an enabling environment for the development of the intellectual abilities and academic capacities that, coupled with an attitude of civic responsibility and professional conduct, foster the creation of strategic human capital.

CAHSEE's human capital development paradigm centers on the cultivation of the intellectual abilities, academic capacities, professional conduct and civic responsibility for the preparation of scientific, technical, professional and civic cadre of the highest order

  1. Intellectual abilities
    1. Visualization of complex structures
    2. Conceptualization of abstract phenomena
    3. Pattern recognition in math and science
    4. Mathematical and engineering intuition
    5. Mathematical and scientific abstraction
  2. Academic capacities
    1. Mathematical syntax and grammar
    2. Modeling of natural and economic phenomena
    3. Analysis and synthesis as the fundamental method
    4. of abstraction
  3. Academic discipline
    1. Subject mastery
    2. Independent learning
  4. Professional conduct
    1. Commitment to excellence
    2. Competitiveness
    3. Precise and clear communication skills
    4. Teamwork and team leadership
    5. Risk-taking
    6. Strategic and tactical thinking
    7. Planning, execution, follow-up, control and evaluation
  5. Civic responsibility
    1. Conduct according to the honor code
    2. Concern for others

Based on this paradigm, CAHSEE emphasizes the achievement of the aforementioned qualities in its educational strategies. Learning to capture the essence of a problem is more important than learning topics and following curricula mechanically. Thus CAHSEE's programs are content-based and not curriculum-based.
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Structure of CAHSEE's Human Capital Development Paradigm

To materialize the aforementioned qualities, CAHSEE has designed a system of interlocked levels that foster the development of multiple aspects of the paradigm.

  • Level One (Mostly 5th and 6th, some 7th graders): Introduction to the rigors of mathematical topology and geometrical visualization of complex structures. The purpose is to develop the student's capacity to understand mathematical logic and syntax, and to manipulate graphical geometrical constructs.
  • Level Two (6th, 7th and 8th graders): Conceptualization and modeling of physical and economic phenomena with a strong emphasis on the theoretical foundations and constructs, and physical laws, that serve as the basis for scientific modeling, and economic principles. Students are introduced to problem solving in science and engineering economy.
  • Level Three (8th. and 9th graders): Pattern recognition focuses on teaching students the logic and inner structure of patters and decomposing and manipulating for problem-solving.
  • Level Four (Mostly 10th graders): Introduction to engineering and mathematical intuition. Emphasis is placed on the student's capacity to understand conceptual complexities and develop an intuition for problem-solving, and on the analytical interpretation of results.
  • Level Five (10th and 11th graders): The program deepens its academic rigor, exposing students to highly abstract material with the goal of developing their capacity for mathematical and scientific abstraction.
  • Level Six (11th and 12th graders, and undergraduates and graduates): Placement of rising seniors or entering college freshmen, and college students as interns in leading high-tech corporations or government labs. Students work in an environment where they develop the capacity to transform their intellectual abilities and knowledge into technical and/or scientific praxis and ingenuity.
  • Level Seven (Graduates, undergraduates and advanced entering college freshmen): Students are placed in environments where teamwork and individual effort are conducive to the development of subject mastery and leadership skills. Emphasis is placed on teaching students to convey, verbally and in writing, their knowledge, ideas, analyses and decisions in concise, clear and convincing forms. Students are also exposed to leadership, strategic thinking and planning.
  • Level Eight (Advanced undergraduates and graduates): Students are placed in science and technical policy positions in government offices. The goal is to expose the students to development, decision-making and implementation of public policy in technical and scientific fields.

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CAHSEE Programs

To implement the aforementioned levels, CAHSEE has developed a system of programs emphasizing different aspects and levels of the paradigm.

  1. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Institute. A five-week summer program of college-level courses in mathematics, engineering, science and computer science for 5th through 11th graders.
  2. SAT/SOAR. Eleven Saturdays of Math SAT I and SAT II preparation seminars for high school sophomores and juniors.
  3. The Young Educators Program (YEP). For college students, an eight-weeks leadership and academic development fellowship divided into four components: a) a series of seminars on teaching and leadership; b) class preparation; c) field experience teaching at a STEM Institute site; and d) data analysis and report writing.
  4. The Young Engineers and Scientist Program (YESP). Summer internship program at federal agencies, government labs and corporate America for college students.
  5. Year-round parental/student activities and workshops. For students and parents to discuss study skills and time management, career and educational experiences of Hispanic professionals, part-time and summer internship programs, college entrance exams, financial aid, social and academic aspects of college life, leadership seminars, succeeding in college advice, etc.

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CAHSEE's Human Capital Development Model

Click here to see the full diagram.
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