FIT - Finding Independent Track

A Partnership between GGAC and UCSF

Mission Statement: Nurturing tomorrow's intellects

One Page Flyer on F.I.T.

FIT “Finding Independent Track” is a new innovative program by UCSF in collaboration with the Golden Gate Area Council designed for high school jumiors and seniors who are seeking an intellectually challenging program.  This three week program spends the first week covering general required topics including statistics, public speaking, and scholarship; the second week, will focus on instructor subject presentations for the track selected; and the third week will connect all the subjects together and apply an interdisciplinary approach to solve various problems and present solutions in a written report as well an oral presentation to the group.


FIT provides a college flavor of a Finding Independent Track for you. In this intellectually rigorous interdisciplinary program, overarching problems will be solved through real-life case studies. Solutions will be developed using a) contextualization, b) critical thinking and c) student-teacher interactive approaches. These approaches are indicators of Socratic pedagogy, and will encourage learning at individual and group levels.

F.I.T. Philosophy

Finding Independent Track (F.I.T.) encourages the need for an early-stage interdisciplinary mindset in high school students through awareness, real-time reflection, and contextualization of self. F.I.T. nurtures self-awareness through interactive learning, facilitated by peer-peer and student-instructor thoughtful discussions in a Socratic style, all of which are used as tools to solve complex problems within the realm of our current circumstances. Predictive models are built through critical analyses of data extracted from various sources including the Economist, National Geographic, Nature and Science magazines. F.I.T. is a rapid and an intense adaptive learning program. F.I.T. encourages the participants to perform in-depth research, and thereby generate awareness about the interconnectedness between three main topics: The Earth, The Human, and The Social and Political constructs.

About F.I.T.

F.I.T. “Finding Independent Track” is an intellectually challenging three-week program by the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in collaboration with the Golden Gate Area Council (GGAC). The first week of the program designed for high school juniors and seniors cover prerequisites that include statistics, public speaking, and scholarship. The fast-paced second and third weeks of the program focus on tracks selected by the students. All tracks assume an interdisciplinary approach to identify potential solutions to current problems related to health, environment, and politics. The F.I.T. participants present their solutions in a written report and give an oral presentation to those invited. 

Finding Independent Track has a college flavor. This intellectually rigorous interdisciplinary program brings to light the overarching global problems that impact the well-being of individuals through real-life case studies. Solutions are developed using a) contextualization, b) critical thinking, and c) student-teacher and peer-peer interactive approaches in the following tracks:

  • Data Sciences – Statistics, Programming, Medicine, Dentistry, Imaging, Public Health, Environmental Science
  • Earth Sciences – Environmental Science, Sustainability, Soil and Water Conservation, Nature, Geology, Chemistry, Material Science
  • Health Sciences – Medicine, Dentistry, Public Health, Nutrition, Physical Fitness, Diagnostic Devices
  • Political Sciences – Law, Government, International Business, Labor, American Cultures and Heritage

F.I.T. 2021

F.I.T. 2021 will expand and have returning faculty as well as new teaching assistant (TA) positions. Merit Badge work will also be introduced as an optional program to continue with the Scouting advancement program while expanding on the knowledge from previous education. For more information about the F.I.T. Program or to apply for the 2021 F.I.T. Program, contact Sunita Ho, Director of FIT,

Application Process

Upon evaluation of a submitted application, the Scout will be informed following which, the Scout will start the program by attending prerequisite sessions (July 10th – July 14th) transitioning into the chosen tracks (July 15th –30th).  July 31st is the grand finale of oral presentations shared by participants.  Scholarships may be available on a need basis. 

F.I.T. is a three-week program that organically encourages high school juniors and seniors to solve complex anthropogenic related problems. The core of series of evenings for three weeks revolve around rigorous reviews and analyses of literature on health status of the human and the earth within the context of our current political environment. The nuts and bolts of the organic nature of F.I.T. are facilitated through interactive sessions presented in a Socratic style. The founder of the program, Dr. Ho is a firm believer that “no one-size fits all in terms of how to interact with and mentor students.” As such, the program limits the number of participants in each track to a maximum of ten. The program metamorphoses during the three weeks through daily inclusion of feedbacks from students into the virtual classroom instructor-student interactions for the following evening. As such real-time “adaptive” learning is encouraged to enable the growing minds of the participants to develop creative and thoughtful solutions. Critical thought is catalyzed through a safe space where each instructor is focused yet demonstrates a whimsical classroom environment.


Participants can select up to two of the multiple available science tracks that are centered on The Human, The Earth, and The Social and Political Constructs. With the help of Joe Barton, GGAC’s Director of Support Services, Dr. Ho was able to unveil the F.I.T. Program to the Scouts (boys and girls) of GGAC. The inaugural F.I.T. Program had 22 participants and was held from July 2 through July 17, 2020, meeting every evening from 4 – 9 PM via Zoom. All F.I.T. participants, students and instructors alike are calibrated to the same baseline through participation in a one-week prerequisite session preceding the F.I.T. core program. The needed “prerequisites” include Statistics, Reading, Scholarship and Public Speaking.   

A few "snippets" from F.I.T. graduates about the program:

I’m so glad I can participate in the F.I.T. Program, and I think it came at a perfect time in society and the world with the pandemic.” Beck M. (Junior, Acalanes High School)


“I really enjoyed the small class size and getting one-on-one help.  I didn’t think I would enjoy Programming.” Vincent C.  (Senior, De La Salle)


“I learned a lot and specifically enjoyed the interconnectedness between Data, Health, Earth, and Political Sciences.”  Alex J. (Senior, Albany High School) 

Joe Barton is a professional Scouter with a passion for education, having served as a Substitute Teacher after college and having discovered his passion for education as a summer camp counselor starting at age 15.  In Scouting Joe has served in various roles from District Executive through Director of Field Service/ Chief Operating Officer in the San Francisco Bay Area Council, Director of Support Service I the Mt. Diablo Silverado Council and currently as the Director of Support Service – Properties/ IT with the Golden Gate Area Council.  Joe’s passion for Scouting extends into his volunteer role as Committee Chair of his sons Cub Scout Pack.


“From the Scouting perspective, F.I.T. captures the goals and objectives of the merit badge program and applies it in a real world environment which gives the scouts an added advantage in learning how to apply all of the outcomes of the Scouting program throughout their lifetimes.” Joe Barton, GGAC Director of Support Service


Sunita Ho is a professor at University of California San Francisco (UCSF). She primarily directs a program in biomineralization studies (PiBiomS) and works on biominerals that form on earth and in the human body. This federally funded interdisciplinary program constitutes anyone interested in learning by exploring and discovering how and why minerals aggregate in human tissues in unwanted locations. As a bioengineer, inter-professional collaboration with clinicians in both Schools of Dentistry and Medicine at UCSF allows her to “engineer” novel solutions to complex problems specific to the human body. What motivates Sunita is to learn by exercising her curiosity, and discover by exploring side-by-side with her fellow colleagues, students, clinicians and scientists alike. (

Select Your Track

Data Sciences

Introduction & Objectives


Your Faculty

Earth Sciences

Introduction & Objectives


Your Faculty

Health Sciences

Introduction & Objectives


Your Faculty

Political Sciences

Introduction & Objectives


Your Faculty

Contact Information:
Sunita Ho
FIT Program Director and Instructor


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