Cal State Bakersfield Raises $ 5 Million to Improve Equity in STEM

(TNS) – Cal State Bakersfield has announced that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering a five-year, $ 5 million grant to expand access to STEM-related careers.

The money will be allocated to creating more internships, providing specialist career guidance and community awareness, expanding research opportunities and strengthening links with local research companies. of talent, according to a university press release.

“This is a great example of what we are doing here at the institution,” said CSUB Principal Marshal Dr. Vernon Harper, a key person in securing the grant. “With this particular grant, [we are] pursue our mission: expand access to all types of careers and fields. This grant will really help open those doors. “

Many students take the appropriate courses for their degree but are unfamiliar with industry standards, said CSUB math professor Dr Charles Lam, who also led the application and is the project director for the program. subsidies.

“We hope (…) to open their eyes so that after having discovered different careers, different opportunities, they also take the initiative to explore [their interests]”Lam said.

A key component of the award includes building relationships with industry in Kern County by providing internships for students. Many companies have to outsource talent, which is leading some employees to leave this field, said acting dean of NSME, Dr Todd McBride, who was also involved in the application process. Job opportunities come from engineering and energy companies, he added.

“We really want to develop our own local talent to provide STEM-trained professionals for Kern County businesses and keep the talent at home,” McBride said.

A new position called the STEM Internship and Career Coordinator with Career Education and Community Engagement will be funded to help introduce students to various jobs. In addition, another newly created position, an outreach coordinator and liaison with community colleges, will increase the exposure of various under-represented minority groups, according to the press release from CSUB.

CSUB, in collaboration with Bakersfield College, aims to organize bilingual family workshops on STEM jobs. Supportive families are essential in encouraging CSUB’s many first-generation students to enter the STEM field, said McBride. These families will understand how such opportunities can contribute to the socio-economic advancement of their children through the seminars, he added.

Although the grant designed specifically targets schools with large Latin American populations, the expanded services are available to everyone, McBride said. The Department of Education recognizes CSUB as an institution serving Hispanics, or a university with at least 25 percent of Hispanic students enrolled full-time.

“The saying that is used a lot in higher education is, ‘A rising tide rises all boats,’” said McBride. “We provide service to everyone and this increases the success of all students.”

Lam pointed out that minorities in STEM are under-represented. This grant attempts to increase the presence of people of color in the industry, he added.

Other new additions include a speaker series from CSUB alumni in STEM careers and the creation of student-faculty partnerships to complete a summer research project. Individuals will present their findings and then be able to apply for funds to continue their work throughout the academic year, McBride said.

Harper, McBride, and Lam worked with other science department heads to complete the application process. CSUB has already received other grants from the Ministry of Education; However, professors have sought to secure this grant to provide an extended introduction to postgraduate careers, Lam said. The funds will go into effect on October 1 and program development will begin thereafter, according to the press release from CSUB.

© 2021 The Bakersfield Californian, distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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