In 1994, the Porterville College Foundation board saw a need to foster additional support for science education at the elementary school level. This evolved into the creation of the Science Math and Resource Technology (SMART) mobile science laboratory, which was originally funded through a federal Dwight D. Eisenhower grant. The unique 44-foot mobile lab travels throughout Tulare County offering STEM education to schools and districts across various grade levels. The program provides hands-on education in life, physical and earth science. The lab provides learning enhancement for teachers and school sites with modules that align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and California Content Standards. Lessons are hands-on and tailored to individual class needs and learning objectives. and serves between 10,000 – 11,000 students per year. This lab serves as an initial touch point for youth, which the foundation hopes, translates to the pursuit of STEM based education and careers.
Every summer the Foundation holds low cost SMART Lab Camps on the Porterville College campus thanks in part to a grant from Southern California Edison. The 4-day long camps take place 4-5 times throughout the summer with roughly 60-75 campers. Camps are held from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and are geared towards 4th – 6th grade students. For many campers this is their first time on the Porterville College campus giving them early exposure to higher education opportunities available locally.