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The STEM Center: Creating a Model for Success in Community College STEM Education

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

California on the Move: A Robust Array of Student Success Initiatives

Tagged Division

Two Year College Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1246.1 - 24.1246.16



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Paper Authors


Anna Marbella Camacho The STEM Center, Cañada College

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Anna Camacho joined Cañada College in 2012 in the capacity of Assistant Project Director of Hispanic-Serving Institution-STEM Grant (CalSTEP). In this position, Anna manages all financial aspects of the grant’s $1.1 million yearly budget. In addition to handling fiscal matters, Anna also collaborates in program implementation & development and new grant proposals. Prior to joining Cañada College, Anna was a Program Officer at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund where she implemented programs aimed at increasing college going knowledge to underrepresented families in multiple states .

Anna is originally from El Paso, TX. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both History and Political Science from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Anna received a Masters of Social Work in 2006, also from the University of Michigan.

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Danni Redding Lapuz The STEM Center at Cañada College

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Danni Redding Lapuz has worked in education and the non-profit sector for over 10 years in both instruction and program development. Since 2009, she has worked with grant-funded programs and initiatives supporting under-represented students studying STEM at Cañada College, including the Health Career Pathways Program, the Student On-Ramp Leading to Engineering and Sciences Project, the Veterans Employment Assistance Program for Engineering, and the National Science Foundation Scholarship Program. As Project Director for a $5.9 million Hispanic-Serving Institution-STEM Grant (CalSTEP), Danni collaboratively spearheaded the creation of The STEM Center, which promotes STEM education through programs, activities, academic/support services, and opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

Danni earned a BA in Music from UC Irvine and an MA in Ethnomusicology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She speaks Indonesian and received fellowship support for her ethnographic research in Indonesia. Currently residing in the Bay Area, Danni continues to perform gamelan music, while raising her two children with her Math professor/musician husband.

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The STEM Center: Creating a Model for Success in Community College STEM EducationIn 2012, President Obama called for 1 million new STEM graduates within the next decade. Thiscall to action was met with a myriad of local and federal educational initiatives, STEM-specificgrant funding, and an emergence of STEM programming at every level of our education system.This new momentum also focuses on the under-representation of minorities and women pursuingSTEM. As a federally-designated Hispanic-serving community college, our goal of producingmore STEM-educated students is embedded within a complex web of obstacles and challenges.In response to these challenges, we identified four key obstacles faced by a majority of ourcommunity college students interested in STEM: 1) lack of awareness of academic options, 2)exponential attrition – the longer the course sequence the less likely students are to persist, 3)lack of social and academic integration, and 4) low self-efficacy – students do not believe thatthey can succeed in STEM.In an effort to address these obstacles and integrate all STEM student support services withinSTEM academic study, we created the STEM Center. Leveraging multiple grants and a varietyof STEM programs and services with a unified vision, the STEM Center now provides a one-stop destination for everything from study groups, tutoring, and club meetings to bridgeprograms (like the award-winning Math Jam), a STEM Speaker Series, STEM specific academiccounseling, STEM career exploration programs for high school students, internship andscholarship opportunities, and STEM faculty professional development.While success of the STEM Center’s individual programs is specifically linked to programobjectives and outcomes, gauging success of the STEM Center as a whole is done through abroad-based examination of four primary indicators: increased enrollment in STEM courses;reduced time to complete STEM course sequences; increased student engagement, retention, andpersistence; and an increase in the number of STEM majors.This paper will outline STEM Center development, highlight the programs and services that areoffered, examine success indicators, and discuss obstacles that have been addressed throughoutthis process. Finally, we will outline best practices for creating a strong and unified STEMsupport network at the community college level that leverages a variety of funding resources andproven methodologies to increase student success in STEM education.  

Camacho, A. M., & Redding Lapuz, D. (2014, June), The STEM Center: Creating a Model for Success in Community College STEM Education Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23179

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