Several impactful campus programs got a major boost recently, as California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) was awarded four grants from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). Together, the grants will provide millions of dollars in support for a host of innovative programs.
Two of the DOE grants are for the GEAR UP program, which allows CSUDH to partner with local school districts, providing and supporting student success services at underserved middle and high schools. The new grants will allow CSUDH to partner with Compton Unified and Hawthorne Unified school districts. The seven-year grants provide $735,000 per year for the Compton GEAR UP program, and $638,000 per year for Hawthorne. Over the course of the grants, they will bring over $9.6 million to the programs.
The grant requests were spearheaded by Brett Waterfield, CSUDH interim director of educational partnerships, and William Franklin, vice president of student affairs. Upon receiving word of their successful proposal, Franklin said, “We are ecstatic about our success in the extremely competitive GEAR UP competition. GEAR UP is unique, in that it allows us to partner with community-based organizations, thereby leveraging non-federal resources with a dollar-for-dollar match requirement. So while we received over $9.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education, those community-based organizations matched every penny with in-kind programs, facilities, and services!”
“The GEAR UP grants will allow us to begin working with an entire cohort of students, no later than the seventh grade, and stay connected to them through their first year in college. Of course, it’s our goal to encourage them to become Toros!,” added Franklin.
TRIO Educational Talent Search
CSUDH received two more new DOE grants for a pair of TRIO Educational Talent Search (ETS) programs. These brand-new programs will enable the university to partner with two more local school districts, identifying and assisting individuals who have the potential to succeed in higher education.
Each five-year grant provides $277,375 per year in funding for the programs, for a total amount of over $2.7 million. One grant will enable CSUDH to partner with Inglewood Unified School District to work with 500 students from Inglewood and Morningside High Schools and their families. The other will provide funds for similar work with 500 students from Jefferson, Jordan, and Fremont High Schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
ETS programs and services include mentoring, academic and career counseling, and economic and financial literacy. The programs offer assistance and guidance to potential first-generation college students and their families, helping increase awareness and aptitude for the college application process and university experience.
“This grant reaffirms CSUDH’s commitment to serving marginalized and underserved populations and increasing college access for students throughout the South Bay,” said Waterfield. “By partnering with key school districts in the area, we will be able to reach students with great potential and help them on the path to success. The work that we do results in generational change within families.”
Diversity in STEM
The Department of Physics was the recipient of another DOE grant, through the DOE’s Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program, titled “Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Through a Research Learning and Workforce Development Program.” Spearheaded by assistant professor of physics Horace Crogman, the grant provides $250,000 during the first year to support underrepresented students in STEM fields. The grant is expected to run for three years.
The program seeks to boost recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in STEM through a variety of methods, from better integrating technology and digital content to collaborating with companies in the community to ensure Toro students are prepared for the workforce.
Added Crogman, “This grant is significant because it will provide a mechanism that assists student recruitment, retention, and graduation in STEM fields. It will support the creation of successful learning pathways into higher education or the STEM workforce, as well as a pipeline into college for students from local school districts, which will further encourage students to pursue STEM education.”
CSUDH STEM students got another boost, as the university was also awarded a multi-million dollar grant for the “Guided Pathways for STEM” (GPS) program. The grant was obtained in partnership with four local community colleges: Compton College, Los Angeles Harbor College, Los Angeles Southwest College, and West Los Angeles College.
The five-year grant of over $4.9 million through the DOE’s Hispanic Serving Institutions – STEM, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (HSI-STEM) and Articulation Programs, will provide support for over 300 Hispanic or underserved first-time STEM students at CSUDH and the partner community colleges. Kamal Hamdan, CSUDH’s Annenberg Endowed Professor for Innovation in STEM Education was the principal investigator for the grant.
One innovative aspect of the program will be its focus on internships for STEM students. Rather than searching for internships available at local businesses, the CISE team will create new, paid internships in both on- and off-campus venues. For example, in collaboration with the IT team, 25 paid internships will be available to Toro computer science majors. Other collaborative efforts will result in internships in K-12 classrooms, the Natural History Museum, and local medical and research facilities.
“This new project has the potential to truly transform the lives of over 300 STEM majors,” said Hamdan. “Its innovative, student-centered, and holistic approach will without any doubt improve the academic and non-academic lives of our STEM majors. GPS will make every academic or non-academic service available to them any time and any day. The CISE team is going to provide on-going high quality proactive support services. Our students deserve it and we are going to make sure they get it.”