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KickStarter: Providing Hispanic Serving Community Colleges with Technical Assistance to Improve their Federal Funding Competitiveness (Experience)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Cynthia Kay Pickering Science Foundation Arizona Orcid 16x16

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Cynthia Pickering is a retired electrical engineer with 35 years industry experience and technical leadership in software development, artificial intelligence, information technology architecture/engineering, and collaboration systems research.

In September 2015, she joined Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) to lead the Girls in STEM initiative and translate her passion for STEM into opportunities that will attract, inspire and retain more girls in STEM to make it the new norm. She has also architected SFAz's enhanced Community College STEM Pathways Guide that has received the national STEMx seal of approval for STEM tools. She integrated the STEM Pathways Guide with the KickStarter processes for improving competitive proposal writing of Community College Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Throughout her career, Ms. Pickering has written robotics software, diagnostic expert systems for space station, manufacturing equipment models, and architected complex IT systems for global collaboration that included engagement analytics. She holds a US Patent # 7904323, Multi-Team Immersive Integrated Collaboration Workspace awarded 3/8/2011. She also has twenty-five peer-reviewed publications.

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Caroline VanIngen-Dunn Science Foundation Arizona

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Caroline VanIngen-Dunn is Director of Community College STEM Pathways at Science Foundation Arizona, providing services for Maximizing the Educational and Economic Impact of STEM. Ms. VanIngen-Dunn is the inspiration behind the programs and resources designed to assist community colleges, particularly rural and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), through a rigorous process leading to improvements in their capacity building, infrastructure, and proposal development efforts that support students in their STEM education and career pathways pursuits.

Prior to Science Foundation Arizona, Ms. VanIngen-Dunn served as President of CVID Consulting, building on years of experience as engineer and project manager in human crashworthiness and safety design, development and testing, working for contractors in commuter rail, aerospace and defense industries.

VanIngen-Dunn has an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a BSE degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa. She serves on the University of Iowa's College of Engineering Advisory Board, the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix Board of Directors, and the Maricopa Community College Workforce Development Leadership & Innovation Council, among other advisory committees.

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Anita Grierson Science Foundation Arizona

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Anita Grierson is a Program Officer at the Science Foundation Arizona where she provides technical assistance to Hispanic Serving Community Colleges via the NSF-funded KickStarter program. Prior to joining SFAz, she was the Director of the METS Center for Motivated Engineering Transfer Students in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. Ms. Grierson has over twelve years of corporate experience in Program Management, Business Development, and Biomechanical Engineering, with products as diverse as air bag systems for helicopters, body armor, and orthopedic implants. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1990, her Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University in 1994, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Arizona State University in 2000.

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Anna Tanguma Science Foundation Arizona

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Anna Tanguma brings 10 years of STEM strategic planning and program management experience in higher education environments and initiatives. Anna has a history of promoting and increasing enrollment in the programs she manages, as well as developing collaborative relationships with corporate and community members. Anna has provided successful direction to federally funded programs within the higher education field. Anna spearheaded the relationship with Health Pathways Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, and University of California-San Diego Moore’s Cancer Center to develop their first-ever nursing internship summer program and offering a value-added learning experience for the students.

In her role at Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), Anna is working with Hispanic Serving Community Colleges as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded KickStarter Program. The goal of KickStarter is to enhance the enrollment of Latino students in STEM fields by helping colleges with their STEM planning and maximizing the competitiveness of their federal grant proposals to fund those plans. As a Program Officer for the Community College STEM Pathways Initiative, Anna works closely with all community college teams, guides them through the KickStarter process, and connects them to community and industry partners.

Anna brings a unique skillset to this position with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Behavioral Science/Educational Counseling from National University; CA. Anna is pursuing her Ph.D. in Psychology with an Emphasis on Integrating Technology Learning. Prior to SFAz, Anna was the Manager of Alumni & Community Relations for National University. Anna developed partnerships within the community colleges and non-profit industry throughout San Diego and Los Angeles for National University.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and State Senator Ben Hueso recently recognized Anna for her work in the MANA De San Diego Latina Success Leadership Program.

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This paper will describe the experience and details for the implementation and evaluation of the NSF sponsored KickStarter program, including results, reflections, benefits and drawbacks of the approach, and lessons learned. An overview of the KickStarter program will provide the initial context, which will be expanded by describing the characteristics of participating Community College Hispanic Serving Institutions (CC-HSIs). The process that provided the CC-HSIs with a blueprint to build, sustain, and augment a strong STEM foundation with innovations in STEM education to enable Latina/o (Latinx) STEM student success will be described along with iterative improvements. Next the evaluation and assessment approach will be discussed followed by the results and outcomes that the CC-HSIs attained by navigating the KickStarter Process. Observations, highlights, and lessons learned will be summarized in hopes of providing insights and practices that will benefit others. A summary of how the program implementation and its evaluation have supported the original program goals and objectives concludes the paper.

KickStarter, an NSF funded program, began Fall 2014, and has included two Cohorts of eleven CC-HSIs across five states. The five phase KickStarter Process has provided a blueprint to build, sustain, and augment a strong STEM foundation with innovations in STEM education to enable Latina/o (Latinx) STEM student success at CC-HSIs. All KickStarter interventions actively involved three levels - individual, team, and organizational - key to institutionalizing successful organizational change.

The KickStarter program's evaluation approach permeates the KickStarter Process, to produce a qualitative and quantitative data set that captures formative and summative results. KickStarter results to date include increasing the rate of CC-HSI NSF proposal awards while also gathering data and information to support eleven CC-HSIs with strengthening their capacity to increase recruitment and retention success rates among LatinX students. Participating in KickStarter has also resulted in colleges realigning institutional resources to support changes to their infrastructure that support their STEM Plans and increase capacity and sustainability. Other results include improved partnering with industry, and forming institutional alliances that improve competitiveness of proposals to NSF.

Observations, highlights and lessons learned discuss the benefits of forming a cross college STEM planning team endorsed by the college president, how and why proposal writing improved iteratively as colleges gained more experience, and the emergence of communities at the CC-HSIs that are increasing likelihood of sustainability.

KickStarter results and lessons learned to date indicate achievements toward the three proposed program objectives. The number of CC-HSIs who compete successfully as lead grantees on NSF projects has increased, CC-HSIs’ STEM infrastructure has been strengthened, and CC-HSIs are engaging with a broader range of partners.

Pickering, C. K., & VanIngen-Dunn, C., & Grierson, A., & Tanguma, A. (2018, June), KickStarter: Providing Hispanic Serving Community Colleges with Technical Assistance to Improve their Federal Funding Competitiveness (Experience) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30746

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