September 27, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
California State University, Bakersfield's Antelope Valley campus is teaming up with Antelope Valley College and CSU Fresno in a multimillion-dollar effort to increase the numbers of Hispanic engineers, teachers and business professionals in the valley area.
The project, "Opening Pathways to College Degrees for Hispanic Students: A Comprehensive and Collaborative Approach," will be funded by a $3.5 million five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Funding begins Oct. 1.
Christos Valiotis, Antelope Valley College's Title V project director, said the project will build upon several major initiatives already in progress and will develop the infrastructure necessary to provide seamless, supportive pathways to university degrees in engineering, education, and business.
These three majors were selected as the focus, Valiotis said, not only because of the critical shortages of qualified professionals in these fields but also because Hispanics, a large proportion of the Antelope Valley population, are underrepresented in teaching, engineering, and professional business positions. "Let's take teachers for example," he continued. "Math and science teachers in the Antelope Valley make up about 4 percent of the total number of teachers and less than 1 percent are Hispanic. … At Edwards Air Force Base less than 2 percent of its science personnel are Hispanic." Though the project is mainly targeted for the Hispanic population, it will look at all underrepresented groups. "NASA engineers are upper middle-aged men; there aren't many women. We're considering women an underrepresented group as well," he added. "We could increase our numbers overall and grow our own."
Debby Rodrigues, CSUB Antelope Valley coordinator of student services, said the goal is to set up students who attend Antelope Valley College to complete their bachelor's degree in the valley. "The end result will be increased enrollment," she added. "It will put the students on a track with a clear outline of what to do to transfer and complete their degree at CSUB or CSUF AV campuses," they said. "Parents will see their child can stay at home and still receive an affordable education."
One component of the program is the students will be mentored and monitored throughout their undergraduate educational career to make sure they are on the right path. An outreach position will be created to work with high school counselors for recruitment. And new and existing students may participate.
Funding will also provide the institutions with supplies, computer labs, and faculty training and workshops.
Both Valiotis and Rodrigues are thrilled with the "cooperation efforts and synergy we have here in the valley" and "thank CSUB President Horace Mitchell and (CSUB provost and vice president for academic affairs) Soraya Coley" for working with them on this project. "It shows institutions working together can make a difference," they said.
For more information, please contact Valiotis at (661) 722-6422, firstname.lastname@example.org; or Rodrigues at (661) 654-5062.