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Site Visit: Galileo Academy of Science and Technology
San Francisco, CA
December 17, 1999

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I visited Galileo Academy of Science and Technology in San Francisco at the invitation of Julie Ryu of Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA). CAA collaborates with Community Educational Services and Galileo in a program called "Applied Learning and Linkages (A.L.L.)." A.L.L.'s mission is to "achieve increased student learning by linking the school community with industry partners to integrate curriculum, build skills, and challenge young people to make informed career and educational choices."

The invitation was to attend the "Power Lunch," a monthly activity in which a group of students (15-24) enjoys pizza and a presentation/discussion with an industry professional. The 40 minute lunch period goes quickly, and the students make the most of it through attentiveness and good questions.

The speaker this month was Justin Hall, an editor and writer for Justin was an enthusiastic speaker who related well with the students. His description of how he became a writer told the story of someone who wrote his own rules and learned a lot along the way. Among the many insights in Justin's stories were:

  • If you want to be a writer, develop a Web site and start writing about what you observe in the world, what's on your mind -- share your work on the Web. You can get a jump on your career by establishing yourself, and you can do this by telling about what you know.
  • Because you publish your work on the Web, people may find it and ask you to write articles for them. In the mean time, you are improving your writing while also establishing yourself as a writer.
  • College can help you become a better writer. One way is by helping you learn to ask better questions. Another way is that you gain a broader perspective (i.e. cultural and historical references) that can give you a richer context for writing and also help you better target your writing to a particular audience.
  • There's a big difference between freelancing and having a job with a company. The work is similar -- the style is different. There are lots of reasons to take a job -- one is to learn.
  • Set goals and work seriously and hard to accomplish them. Set new goals. At the same time, try to do work that you enjoy.
  • Keep learning about technology.

Related Links
Chinese for Affirmative Action: Web site:

Ralph Manak, BaySCAN