Donated Computers Help Launch Engineering Academy at Santa Barbara High School

Providence Christian School recently received 10 refurbished computers as part of Edison International’s Computers for the Community program.

March 02, 2015 | By Caroline Aoyagi-Stom @SCE_CarolineA

2014 Community Investment Report

Ben may be 12 years old, but he’s already learning to build robots. And he can only build them if his school has the proper computer equipment and software.

Computers “are more captivating and interactive than books are,” said the seventh-grader who recently completed an introduction to engineering class at Providence Christian School in Santa Barbara.

That’s why students like Ben are excited about the 10 newly refurbished computers recently donated to the school by Edison International. The computers also came fully loaded with Windows 7 software.

The school plans to use the equipment to help launch a new engineering academy this fall for their ninth- to 12th-grade students. The academy will teach 3D design, coding and aerodynamic design.

“We have lots of plans for them,” said Rodney Meadth, Providence’s dean of students.

Meadth, 31, stumbled upon Edison International’s Computers for the Community program though an Internet search. The school met all the requirements and he quickly applied. The computers are now at the school and ready for the academy’s first wave of students.

An aerospace engineer by training, Meadth knows the value of a STEM (science, technology, engineering or math) education. He especially understands the impact engineering has on real-world applications.

“I love the creativity of it,” he said. “It uses math and science and it takes it one step further and can help solve real-world problems.”

Meadth plans to teach statics, the science of things that don’t move, at the academy. One of their projects will be to look at structures like buildings and analyze the loads and stresses to predict if there will be a break or collapse.

The students will also learn aerodynamics, calculating and designing gliders from scratch. In addition, the students will use the donated computers for computer-aided design and coding.

“It’s part of one big cycle,” said Meadth, on the importance of the Edison International donation. “If you want the best candidates for your company, you have to invest in the best people who are coming through.”

Katherine, 13, can’t wait. She is taking Meadth’s introduction to engineering class and is eager to learn more.

“My favorite thing about engineering class with Mr. Meadth is when we get to use the EV3 computer to actually move our robot when we are testing it out,” she said.

Katherine is one of six girls in Meadth’s class of 16 students. The STEM-based class has definitely resonated with the 13 year old whose favorite subject is math. 

“As a future career, I’m deciding between an engineer, a tennis player, a research doctor or a computer programmer,” she said.

Last year, Edison International donated more than 1,200 computers to 232 nonprofits and schools.

“At Edison, we know that computers are an important tool for learning in today’s schools and an important resource for nonprofit organizations to use in carrying out their mandates,” said Tammy Tumbling, director of Philanthropy and Community Investment at Southern California Edison. “That is why we have a Computers for the Community program where we provide refurbished computers to schools and nonprofit organizations in our service territory.”

To learn more about Edison International’s Computers for the Community program:





2014 Community Investment Report

Topics: People