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May 13, 2014 > Program links education and community engagement

Program links education and community engagement

Submitted By Stephanie Thara

In an effort to support the nation in dramatically increasing the number of graduates in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics), California State University will launch CSU STEM VISTAÑthe UniversityÕs first system-wide AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. Starting July 2014, the new program will create unique hands-on opportunities for students Ñ particularly from underrepresented communities Ñ passionate about pursuing and completing degrees in STEM.

ÒCSUÕs ability to expand the STEM employment pipeline is critical to the future success of the stateÕs economy and worldwide competitiveness,Ó said Judy Botelho, CSU director of the Center for Community Engagement.

Through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service-California State Office, nine CSU campus STEM colleges, institutes and departments will host 15 VISTA members, who will work with STEM students, faculty and staff to develop long-term solutions for bolstering the number of students who obtain STEM degrees. The program will expand the systemÕs ability to give students the skills and knowledge needed to make lasting, positive changes in STEM-related fields by teaching students how to evaluate and address the needs of a population through community service.

From July 2014-July 2015, CSU STEM VISTA members will serve as liaisons between campus host sites and their community partners so that CSU students can participate in mentoring and academic support programs, as well as engaged learning experiences such as service learning, internships and undergraduate research. VISTAs will also support K-12 student success in STEM through departmental partnerships with local K-12 schools, after school programs, local science museums and other youth programs.

In the Tri-city area, CSU East Bay Institute for STEM Education is among various colleges state-wide participating in this inaugural year of the CSU STEM AmeriCorps VISTA Program.

For more information on the CSU STEM VISTA program, please visit www.calstate.edu/cce/vista.

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