uni tech and engineering logo

                                                                                                               See what happens next.  


Opinion piece "What Straight-A Students Get Wrong"; how academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence

Article "Late to Launch: The Post-Collegiate Struggle"; Discusses the importance to getting work skills during academic years

UNITEsports team to compete in spring season NASEF High School League of Legends Tournament; Season goes from Jan through Apr; sign up here

UNITEsports team finishes inaugural season of NASEF High School Overwatch Scholastic Tournament with 5-2 record; learn more about tournament here

IRVINE01 successfully launched and deployed into low Earth orbit on Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle aboard It's Business Time  mission; watch recorded live stream here

IRVINE02 successfully launched and deployed on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on December 3rd 10:34am aboard SSO-A: SmallSat Express mission out of Vandenberg Air Force Base in central California; That makes two high school satellites up in space in 3 years

Whitepaper Getting Real About Career Readiness:  A Focus on Cross-Sector Competencies

Hydrogen Grand Prix (HGP; formerly H2AC) project now taking signups; build and race RC car powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology; Sign up here for HGP; RC experience preferred but not required

Two Uni students awarded Dragon Challenge grand prize for community service project teaching coding to kids at local homeless and domestic violence shelters; check it out here

Interview with Dirty Jobs Mike Rowe on America's Skills Gap Problem here -- food for thought

CyberPatriot student cybersecurity competition; sign up here to join a UNITE team; monthly training sessions at IVC on Saturdays 9a-1p; see info video here

Article: Career Ready High Schools

Article: What is Career and Technical Education, Anyways

Article "Does STEM Really Matter?" -- an examination of technical skills versus other skill sets

Powerful video "4 Skills & 4 Steps to a successful career" highlighting what matters most 


  • UNITE awards scholarship money to its graduating seniors, who have completed both engineering courses, for post-secondary pursuit of machining, manufacturing, engineering and other skilled trades.
  • UNITE students validate their CTE skills through industry-aligned certification exams which are provided free of charge. 
  • In spring 2018, 59 UNITE students earned nearly 100 skills certificates in CAD Mechanical Design, Engineering Principles, 21st Century Success Skills, and IT Fundamentals.
  • UNITE students who have completed Intro to Engineering Design course can earn IVC college credit.
  • UNITE's H2AC team was featured in automotive magazines Car & Driver, Road & Track, and Popular Mechanics.
  • UNITE is not a club but a school wide STEM program that blends career and technical education with academics.
  • UNITE offers 9 different STEM projects and programs for students to join, participate and work on beyond the school day.
  • UNITE emphasizes 21st century success skills, habits, behaviors and attitudes equally as much as academic content.  
  • UNITE is an approved proctoring site for the CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ exam -- an entry-level professional IT certification exam.
  • The first IUSD nanosatellite project started at UNITE with a grant from Irvine Public Schools Foundation.
  • UNITE works with local STEM companies to provide work-based learning opportunities through internships, apprenticeships, mentorships, and part-time work.  
  • UNITE was born out of Uni's selection as a Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam in 2014-15.  


What is UNITE?  HOW DO I JOIN?  

UNITE Brochure
UNITE stands for UNI_Technology&Engineering -- our schoolwide STEM program that blends technical and workplace skills (CTE; career and technical education) with academic learning.  We offer PLTW Engineering classes and STEM projects for students to work on beyond the school day.  Girls are especially welcome -- no experience or background required.  Students learn by DOING, MAKING, CREATING in order to thrive in a world that values collaboration, initiative, perseverance, flexibility, empathy, curiosity, and creativity.  We have a laser-like focus on providing students with authentic, real-world learning experiences, and setting up the right conditions for them to develop skills and practice habits that enable college/career/life success many years down the road.  We take an iterative approach to projects because failure is always an option when calculated risk taking is encouraged.  Our predisposition is to take impactful action to make things happen instead of spending much time talking about it upfront, i.e. lead by example.  We, along with our partners in education, industry and non-profit sectors, invest a lot of time, effort and resources into achieving desired outcomes for students who are in our program.  We have a relentless pursuit of learning new things and a passion for work-based learning. 

Students enrolled in our engineering classes and/or those who participate in our STEM projects automatically become part of our program.  Sign up for a STEM project below.  

Sign up for the UNITE email list and receive information about about STEM, college/career readiness, special programs and events, articles, etc. 

UNITE Program Objectives & Desired Outcomes

  • Increase female enrollment and participation to be on par with boys
  • Prepare students for college entry as engineering majors
  • Prepare students for technical work in high demand, high wage entry-level STEM jobs right out of high school -- educate for employability
  • Build student agency in the areas of technical ability, communication, adaptability, leadership and entrepreneurship
  • Form connections and a network with education and industry partners through mutually shared interests -- strengthen these relationships
  • Engage with the community through STEM-related events -- strengthen quality of engagement
  • Connect students to industry and business/industry professionals through work-based learning, internship, apprenticeship, and mentorship -- champion the dignity of work in all its forms
  • Align STEM offerings to current and future workforce demands and expanding industries
  • Participate in STEM project-based learning in an authentic, real-world context

Engineering Course Offerings

Project Lead the Way Logo
Intro to Engineering Design (IED)  
Principles of Engineering (POE)
UC Approved Yes; "g" elective Yes; "g" elective

Design Process; Technical Drawing/Sketching; Measurement & Statistical Analysis; 3D CAD Solid Modeling; Reverse Engineering (Foundational skills of engineering)

Energy & Power; Materials & Structures; Control Systems; Statistics & Kinematics (Covers concepts in various engineering fields; more math & physics )


CAD software; 3D printer; CNC mill; Engineering notebook; Calipers; Spreadsheet

VEX equipment; Breadboard; Microcontrollers; ROBOTC; Physics equipment


All work done in class; Very little homework; Some students may need additional time to complete assignments at home

All work done in class; Very little homework; Some students may need additional time to complete assignments at home

Student Readiness Consideration

Concurrent enrollment Math 1; Basic computer skills; Growth mindset

Completion Math 1 with "C" or higher; Concurrent Math 2; Basic computer skills; Growth mindset

Teaching/Learning Methods Learn by doing Learn by doing

AP + PLTW = Student Recognition

To earn the recognition, a student must satisfactorily complete three courses in the pathway – one AP course; one PLTW course; and a third course, either AP or PLTW – and earn a qualifying score of 3 or higher on the AP Exam(s) and a score of Proficient or higher on the PLTW End-of-Course (EoC) assessment(s).   The application process for AP + PLTW Student Achievement opens on September 1st.  Once a student submits an application, he or she will be evaluated each summer to determine eligibility.

College Articulation

Students can earn Irvine Valley College credit by taking UNITE engineering classes.  Read the articulation agreement and fill out the IVC CTE credit request form.  
Student takes UNITE's Intro to Engineering Design (PLTW) course.  She receives a “B” or better as a final grade.  Intro to Engineering Design is articulated with IVC’s DR 50 (3 units) and DR101 (3 units).  This means that student is eligible to receive 6 units at IVC for completing Intro to Engineering Design with a grade of “B” or better.  However, she must first enroll at IVC and complete a 3 unit course (any course).  Or, if she already has 3 units, then what is called “unit-residency requirement” is met.  Student fills out the IVC HS Articulations Credit Request Form and submits with her high school transcript.  IVC Admissions Office verifies that student took Uni’s Intro to Engin Design course, got “B” and fulfilled IVC’s 3-unit residency requirement.  IVC Admissions okays the request. 

Career Programs offered by Orange County Community Colleges (all sectors)

Career Pathways Description (all sectors)

UNITE STEM Projects for 2018-19 **

Project Description Culminating event Sign up
LA Chargers STEM on the Sidelines Build mini-football launcher with electronics sandbox kit Football launcher challenge November 2018; Chargers practice facility Sign up FULL


Esports League

UNITEsports logo


Team-based multiplayer online gaming

Regular season, playoffs and championship; Spring season January - April 2019 (Game is League Of Legends) Sign up here for Esports League
Uni Baseball Data Analytics Collect data, perform statistical analysis to help coaches with player development and in game strategy using data analytics and probabilities Baseball season Sign up here for Data Analytics
Solar Rollers     Build a solar powered RC vehicle; race other schools May 2019 race event; N.Calif Sign up here for Solar Rollers
Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge (H2AC) Design and build RC fuel cell car; perform renewable energy experiments SoCal Grand Prix Regional Race Sign up here for H2AC
Irvine Cubesat Assemble, test and launch nanosatellite into low Earth orbit IRVINE01 Launch Nov 2018; IRVINE02 Launch Q4 2018 Sign up here; Please contact Mr. Bell for more info (matthewbell@iusd.org)
OC Maker Challenge Create a prototype using 3D printing; video; display board Deliverables due early April Project idea submission TBA
C-STEM Linkbots Program linkbots to move around a mat and perform tasks RoboPlay Competition event at Uni in May Sign up TBA
UCI Rescue Robotics Build drone or ground robot for rescue May competition event Project on hiatus for 2018-19
Video from a previous competition
World Educational Robot Program robot rover to follow a map and perform tasks Competition event TBA Project on hiatus for 2018-2019
VEX Robotics Competition Build a robot to compete in a game field Various competition events throughout the year Sign up here for VEX Robotics
GAMA Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge Use flight simulator software to design most efficient plane (all on computer) Deliverables due April Project on hiatus for 2018-19
National Cyber League
Team of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company (all on computer) April through November; includes summer Sign up CyberPatriot
Sign up National Cyber League
MIT LaunchX Develop entrepreneurial skills and mindset by launching startups USA West Regional Pitch event  

** All UNITE projects are student-driven.  Students decide the level of commitment, time and effort to put forth.  Student teams determine work schedule, team organization and what they want to get out of the project.  Project work typically occurs after school several days a week and runs from October through May.  

Internships & Work-based Learning

UNITE students have been accepted for STEM jobs and internships at these companies:


MESA Specialty Gas                                                           





NIH Cancer Institute                                                             



 II-VI Optical Systems Logo



 Lean Engineering Logo                                     


Why STEM?  Why Now?

Job Families graph 
 Change in skills graph

Degree vs Demand graph

Digitalization levels graphic

Source:  Brookings Institute, Digitization and the American Workforce

Project job openings graph

STEM/CTE/College Readings & Resources


UNITE offers free Intro to JavaScript programming class on Khan Academy; join class here; enter Class code JEZE6FB6; Class runs 10/24/18 through 1/22/19
UNITE offers CompTIA IT Fundamentals exam right on site free of charge; next exam Saturday Oct 20th 9-10:30am; refundable $10 reservation fee required;  Sign up here
ChickTech OrangeCounty free program to promote girls in STEM; Fill out application to be nominated here 
Sign up for VEX Robotics Competition here; intermediate or advanced VEX experience required
UNITE recruiting team members for Esports League; Fill out application here 
Irvine CubeSat now accepting applications here; contact Mr. Bell (MatthewBell@iusd.org) for more info; Irvine CubeSat STEM Program presentation video
Be part of Uni baseball team as data analytics assistant coach -- sign up here
Article: How to Get the Most out of College (and school in general)
59 UNITE students earn nearly 100 industry certificates in CAD Mechanical Design, Principles of Engineering, 21st Century Success Skills, and IT Fundamentals in 2017-18
Earn 6 units IVC college credit by completing UNITE's Intro to Engineering Design class; see details below

UNITE eager to work with companies wanting to take on students for summer internships; please contact us above
Cal Poly SLO engineering student shares how UNITE prepared him for college
UNITE student shares success story on the impact of internships during high school
Free IVC CTE Summer Bridge Classes -- info and register here
UNITE proudly offers Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship for postsecondary pursuit of manufacturing/engineering; UNITE seniors only apply here by May 9
Article "High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up For University"
Article "Top Job Skills Schools Aren't Teaching Well"
Gallup survey shows internships, skills training, soft skills and mentoring are most helpful in student workplace preparedness  
UNITE offers students access to CompTIA IT Fundamentals certification at no cost -- Uni students only sign up here for course and exam by Wed 5/9
UNITE initiative to implement industry certifications and internships/apprenticeships featured in Irvine World News 
Uni High ranks #19 Best STEM High School according to US News & World Report; #4 in CA; tops in Orange County
Article "Students need help with career readiness" -- a UNITE core competency
UNITE team starts company Mealmate to reduce food waste; wins LaunchX SoCal Demo Day pitch competition and earns invitation to MIT International Demo Day
Irvine CubeSat STEM Program awarded NASA-sponsored launch through NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative for second year in a row
Irvine CubeSat featured in Irvine Standard
Free Summer Observational Astronomy Workshop at UCLA; application here
Summer paid internship in machining/manufacturing Boeing Portland Tech Prep Program; juniors & seniors only; apply here by April 15
Article "Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking"
Best news!!  UNITE receives IPSF Mega Innovative Grant for Implementing Industry Certifications and Internships/Apprenticeships into Engineering Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathway
Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at Blizzard Entertainment; info and apply here by Tues 3/20
Article "The Value of Soft Skills in the Labor Market"
Article "Tech companies should stop pretending AI won't destroy jobs"
Irvine CubeSat named Outstanding STEM Program by Orange County Engineering Council
Summer program Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovations @ CSUF; costs $; need-based scholarships available; apply here
STEM 101: Intro to Tomorrow's Jobs
Solar Rollers project now has openings -- sign up below by Feb 14
Build-a-Plane Aviation Design Challenge project taking signups now -- see below
2-week summer program in Engineering & Computer Science at UCI ASPIRE -- apply here by March 2
Applications now open for 3-week Google Computer Science Summer Institute -- seniors only; apply here by March 2
UNITE to offer industry certifications for students enrolled in engineering courses
Article "The Case Against College"; highlights importance of taking the right courses at the right price
Irvine CubeSat selected for NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative -- see all selectees here
Article "California has millions for good-paying jobs for workers without bachelors' degree"
Now accepting project proposals for OC Maker Challenge -- submit proposal here
Learn more about IVC Engineering program
Free STEM conference for girls March 3 & 4 in Tustin; sign up here if you want to be nominated
UNITE CyberPatriot team earns Platinum tier (highest 30% in Division) for Round 1 & 2; now onto State Round
One week summer SPACE CAMP -- apply for scholarship here; DUE Jan 15
Valuable Work Skills for 2018 -- read here
Most Coveted Job Skills for 2018 are STEM Skills -- read here
UNITE receives PPG Innovative Classroom Grant
Uni students take 2nd and 3rd place in Congressional App Challenge
A new report study suggests many associate degree and certificate programs offer valuable routes to middle class
Article suggests not all STEM majors created equal in terms of employment prospects
Earth System Science student creates website for Energy Conservation
Brookings report indicates jobs of all types now require more digital skills
UNITE now proudly sponsors MIT Launch an entrepreneurship and startups program
New study finds screen time boosts depression and suicide behavior in teens, especially girls
Irvine CubeSat article Second year of Irvine’s high school satellite launch program gets help from NASA
Irvine Cubesat featured in OC Register "Irvine high school students ready  their mini satellite for launch into orbit"
Several UNITE students working summer STEM internships and jobs at local tech companies
Report CTE in High School: Does it improve student outcomes?
Free self-paced edX course Becoming an Entrepreneur
UNITE featured in article "How one platform is launching student careers in high school" 
NASA Selects Irvine CubeSat for future mission launch; see all selectees in this official NASA announcement
Newly released IUSD Engineering Pathway flyer
UNITE H2AC Team featured in 3 automotive magazines Road & TrackCar & DriverPopular Mechanics
Four UNITE seniors receive Gene Haas Foundation Scholarship for postsecondary pursuit of manufacturing/engineering
Uni High ranks #19 Best STEM High School 2017 according to US News & World Report   
World Educational Robot (WER) project signup 
UNITE awarded 3D printing package through GE Additive Education Program

UNITE Partners & Supporters -- THANK YOU

IPSF Logo                           OC Pathways Logo


Vital Link Logo


Career technical education partnership logo                               CTE OC logo



Airwolf3D Logo                   Horizon Educational Logo


      PPG Logo                                             Gama Logo



Abilix logo                                        Paton Group Logo

GE Additive Logo


IVC Logo                          UCI Samueli School of Engineering Logo


Gene Haas Foundation Logo               Lemels N-MIT Logo



Irvine Cubesat Logo                                        Cubesat in space