Strengthening Youth Education in STEM
January 12, 2012
By Stephanie Thara
The California State University is committed to improving the nation’s competiveness in science and technology by preparing K-12 teachers who are competent in science and mathematics and educating youngsters about STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.
As the largest producer of mathematics and science teachers in California, CSU prepares nearly one-half of new teachers in these fields. The CSU’s Math and Science Teacher Initiative has doubled the production of math and science credentials since its inception in 2004. From 2005 to 2009, the CSU doubled the number of math and science teachers credentials awarded to a total of 1,500.
In addition to implementing programs and initiatives to prepare K-12 teachers, the CSU is focused on directly educating the nation’s future scientists and engineers through outreach activities.
Campuses have partnered with their respective communities to design programs and events that will inspire youngsters to pursue careers in STEM industries. Programs to strengthen youth education in science include:
The School Robotics Initiative at Cal Poly Pomona brings math to life for elementary and middle school students by holding a robot competition where youngsters must build and program robots, utilizing math principals they might not even realize they're employing.
CSU Channel Islands has partnered with local community colleges and Ventura County K-12 schools to provide hands-on science demonstrations in local classrooms and “Science Nights” where students and parents will learn about STEM career paths.
In partnership with the Sonoma County Office of Education, Sonoma State University has created a summer research internship program for Sonoma County high school juniors. These students are given opportunities to work on challenging projects and become familiar with state-of-the art research and development facilities. They also get to experience the university education environment and interact with faculty and students.
Cal State Long Beach’s “My Daughter is anEngineer” program brings mothers and daughters and elementary school teachers to campus for a three-day residential program that includes engineering-based workshops on robotics and control technology in everyday life; academic career preparation and skills learning; and engineering-relevant field trips.
CSU Bakersfield’s Chemistry Department has created the Chemical Circus: a traveling, interactive program where trained faculty and students perform engaging, entertaining and educational chemistry activities to promote interest in chemistry among local youth.