The award number is 2012-38422-19825 for the amount of $295,000. The project proposed by the California State University, Bakersfield School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering (NSME) will addresses all NIFA Priorities and HSI Program Goals through development of a new agricultural sciences concentration, the first step towards developing a comprehensive agriculture degree at CSUB. At least five new interdisciplinary courses will be developed and related sciences courses will be redesigned to integrate hands-on, problem-based learning with an emphasis on regional agriculture needs and academy-industry connections. As an exemplary HSI with a demonstrated commitment to increasing STEM participation, CSUB will provide local Hispanic and other underrepresented students the opportunity to earn a high quality degree that will also prepare graduates to be successful agriculture professionals. An interdisciplinary approach with an emphasis on hands-on and experiential learning is necessary as agriculture is becoming increasingly complex, technical and science oriented. At least 20 students will enroll in the first cohort; four of them will be supported through scholarships and stipends. Current STEM outreach activities will be leveraged to inform service area Hispanic communities of the educational opportunities and rewarding careers in agriculture. Outreach efforts will reach more than 35,000 high school and more than 2000 community college students.
- New curriculum which better prepares STEM students for agriculture-related careers in the region and is a successful best practice model of accessible modern STEAM education.
- CSUB will be able to offer an agriculture-related degree, with enough students well qualified faculty to grow an outstanding modern agricultural education program.
- The region will begin to solve problems that threaten local agriculture and the local economy and quality of life. Many more Hispanics in the region will be able to complete college degrees and have meaningful local careers. The region will continue to be a major global food supplier.
- One full-supported scholarship student and 3 other students will be supported through stipends and will be engaged early in undergraduate research projects or placed in internship positions in local agricultural industries and/or USDA agencies.
- It is expected that 20 students (15 freshmen and 5 transfers) will be identified and enrolled to establish the first cohort of the new Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering emphasis.
- Outreach efforts will reach 19 local high schools (35,000 students) and 3 local community colleges (2,000 students) to conduct orientation events and establish the parameters for a seamless transition of interested students to the new CSUB Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering concentration.