STOak begins in the spring semester with a mix of structured course work, group discussion, and independent research. The class explores social change theory, community-based research, systems thinking, and leadership strategies. The structures of non-profit organizations and local government agencies are examined and the professional expectations and conduct that students will uphold in their summer work are discussed. Students work independently to research the economic, social, and political history of their area of concentration.
The core of the program is the summer internship which pairs students with mentors working in community organizations in one of four areas: education, environment, health, or social equity. Students participate in six-week, full-time internships in the wider Oakland community to help organizations make a difference in the lives of local residents. The program concludes in the fall semester with independent and collaborative work and the preparation of a formal presentation for the wider College Prep community.
Past STOak research topics and community partners include:
- Oakland Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement Working to support community initiatives during COVID-19
- South Asian Girls Project Launching a new organization supporting girls of South Asian heritage in the Bay Area
- Destiny Arts An arts education non-profit whose mission is violence prevention and community building
- Alliance for Girls An umbrella organization that works with other non-profits and government agencies that support girls
- Urban Strategies Council Research and advocacy, especially in criminal justice system reform
- Oakland City Administrators Office Working alongside City officials, primarily on issues of homelessness
- Alameda County Supervisor Working alongside the Supervisor, focusing on issues of illegal dumping and racial justice
- East Bay Sanctuary Covenant Supporting asylum seekers and refugees in their application process to the US
- Assemblymember Office Supporting community engagement and meetings
- Everyone Home A nonprofit focusing on ending homelessness through research and funding of community organizations
- California Youth Connection Supporting work with California foster youth and organizing a major annual meetup
- Bay Area Regional Health Inequalities Initiative Working with Bay Area public health departments to understand and take action on health disparities
- Save the Bay Working with public programs to raise awareness about environmental issues impacting Bay and public health