Alumna Discusses Building Inclusive, Innovative STEM Curricula at Teachers Summit

In addition to sponsoring two statewide speakers on July 29, each of the California Teachers Summit’s regional hubs also hosted two regional speakers.

Alicia Johal
Alumna Alicia Johal spoke about building stronger STEM curricula at the California Teachers Summit.

At the Town and Country Convention Center in Mission Valley, which served the greater San Diego area, National University alumna and eighth-grade science teacher, Alicia Johal (M.Ed, 2013), talked about building stronger, more relevant and inclusive STEM curricula through community and corporate partnerships – particularly for Title 1 Schools.

Ms. Johal, who teaches at Mar Vista Academy (Sweetwater Union High School District) in Imperial Beach, has an impressive track record of launching extracurricular and after-school programs that are providing her students with a more competitive edge to prepare them for higher education, or a trade in today’s highly technical job market.

From underwater robotics programs, solar-power car competitions, and middle school biotechnology electives, to learning how to utilize art to communicate science, Ms. Johal’s ideas have attracted local funding, drawn support from the community, and engaged her students in critical thinking and practical problem-solving skills that have empowered them for future success.

As an Apple Foundations Trainer, she is integrating technology into her science classroom by igniting curiosity in engineering and coding, and encouraging inquiry among students from underserved populations. With partnerships from the Living Coast Discovery Center, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, and the San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts, she is giving young people the self-confidence and intellectual curiosity necessary to enhance their academic performance and continue their learning pathways into higher education and the workplace.

“Science is the great equalizer,” said Ms. Johal. “Every student can connect with and embrace STEM education, if it is accessible, relevant, and engaging. I strive to build STEM/STEAM programs with real-life applications, and grant-based projects that draw current engineers and scientists into the classroom. If I can share my successes and partnerships to inspire teachers from all grade levels and content areas, then we are all cultivating a promising pathway for every student in our classrooms, for the 21st century.”

For more information about the underwater robotics program, please visit: