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Real Scientists Teaching Science to Local Students

Local Youth ages 10—14 have a unique opportunity to participate in a series of interactive labs which include competitive, team-based experiments to enhance and enrich their emerging knowledge in science. LabRats San Diego, an Encinitas-Based non-profit after-school education company, hosts weekly labs designed to motivate youth to gain an interest and competency in STEM education.

Three young students at the boys and girls club center for healthy lifestyle discovering how complex and important soil is to the plants we grow. Courtesy photo


The labs are led by real scientists with backgrounds in research.

Our curriculum was developed by our education team led by Dr. Shawn Carlson, Ph.D., a nationally recognized physicist and innovator in STEM education. His scientific approach has been featured in many national publications including Newsweek, US News & World Report and Scientific American as well as numerous newspapers and TV shows.

In recognition of his work, Dr. Carlson received the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship Award.  The locally based education team holds advanced degrees in STEM fields including Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics from esteemed universities.

According to Ryan Merrill, Education Director for LabRats, our educational approach is built on creating fun, interactive and engaging experiences to build imagination, develop character, and strength in knowledge. “We believe it’s vital to empower and inspire youth to use their imagination and creativity in STEM to become the future innovators. We’re developing innovative curriculum we call ‘STEMi to the Power of Imagination’ – STEMi,” said Merrill.

As Albert Einstein famously said … “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraced the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”

Everything we do in our classes is designed to produce a growth mindset in students. A growth mindset is the opposite of a fixed mindset. A child with a fixed mindset will shut down and back away from a task they don’t immediately understand, where as a student with the growth mindset will be encouraged by challenges and the opportunity to make new connections when trying to overcome obstacles. It has been proven that the more students struggle to work through difficult problems the smarter they become overall.

We help the students develop their own creative solutions to problems, not just follow cookie cutter directions.  This approach allows children to set up their own experiments like building their own wind gauge or harnessing the power of electricity and magnetism to power a light bulb.

Here at LabRats we believe in nurturing curiosity and discovery, not memorization and recitation.

Students need a safe place to explore, ask questions, and think outside of the box; this can be that place for your child today!

To register students for the $100, 4-week course, visit

Fall Labs are hosted in three locations – Carlsbad, Encinitas, and Solana Beach

Pacific Ridge school Tuesdays, 4:00 – 5:30, Starting October 2nd

The Boys and Girls Club, Harper Branch Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:30, Starting October 3rd

The Boys and Girls Club, Griset Branch Thursdays, 4:00 – 5:30, Starting October 4th

All Children from 5th to 8th grade are welcome. Scholarships and tuition assistance are available. To register students for the science labs, visit

Any questions email: [email protected], Phone: (760) 450- 4717.