Public Affairs, The California State University

New CSU STEM VISTA Program Links Education and Community Engagement to Foster STEM Student Success

In an effort to support the nation in dramatically increasing the number of graduates in STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics), the California State University will launch CSU STEM VISTA—the University’s first systemwide AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. Starting July 2014, the new program will create unique hands-on opportunities that will get students — particularly from underrepresented communities — passionate about pursing and completing degrees in STEM.

“CSU’s ability to expand the STEM employment pipeline is critical to the future success of the state’s economy and worldwide competitiveness,” said Judy Botelho, CSU director of the Center for Community Engagement. “The CSU STEM VISTA program will enhance our efforts to create engaging learning experiences that captivate current and future STEM students.”

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 system’s 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.

CSU departments participating in the inaugural year of the CSU STEM AmeriCorps*VISTA Program are:

  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Center for Excellence in STEM Education+
  • Fresno State College of Science and Math+
  • Fresno State Construction Management Program
  • CSU East Bay Institute for STEM Education+
  • San José State College of Science+
  • CSU Monterey Bay Division of Science and Environmental Policy and Service Learning Institute
  • CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB)+
  • CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology (COAST)
  • Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering+

+indicates that the department will host two VISTA members

With more than 9,000 students who participated in STEM service-learning courses in 2012-13, the CSU is dedicated to producing STEM professionals who are committed to making a difference domestically and internationally. Through programs such as CSU STEM VISTA, more students will have the opportunity to participate in activities that will encourage them to pursue and graduate in STEM-related fields. For more information on the CSU STEM VISTA program, please visit www.calstate.edu/cce/vista.

###

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 447,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards more than 100,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.9 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media. Show how the CSU matters to you and take action.