VC STEM network

Ventura County STEM

Camarillo, Calif., April 28, 2016 — The Ventura County STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Network, led by CSU Channel Islands (CI), has been named as a US2020 City Network coalition partner.

This designation, announced during the 2016 White House Science Fair, is given to just 11 regions across the United States whose members have shown exceptional commitment to increasing STEM mentoring for students from pre-school through college.

US2020 City Network partners also place special emphasis on the kinds of students who wouldn’t ordinarily get the opportunity to consider a STEM career, such as low-income students or students of color. 

This new designation means US2020 will place a STEM Americorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) in Ventura County to help enhance STEM education in Ventura County. The VISTA will be placed at CI, which has taken the lead in the Ventura County STEM Network (VC STEM).

VC STEM and CSU Channel Islands will be looking for volunteer STEM mentors from local companies.

“The VISTA will be building capacity in our region and will work with a staff supervisor to a VC STEM Mentor program,” explained VC STEM Planning Director and CI Professor of Chemistry Phil Hampton, Ph.D. “CI has committed resources to hire a part-time staff member to oversee the work of VISTA. And a lot of STEM professionals will be recruited to become volunteer STEM mentors.”

Hampton said the VISTA position would be a good fit for a recent college graduate whose degree would ideally be in one of the STEM fields, but can be in another field.

The US2020 STEM mentoring initiative was launched at the 2013 White House Science Fair and the US2020 City Network was launched at the 2014 White House Science Fair.

Hampton began organizing the Ventura County STEM Network in 2014 after the Amgen Foundation, the charitable arm of the Amgen biotechnology company in Thousand Oaks, funded a $75,000 grant proposal put together by a CI steering committee headed by Hampton.

VC STEM was launched under the Ventura County P-20 Regional Council, a group of decision-makers from education, business, parent organizations and other community agencies committed to enhancing the community’s educational system.  The P-20 Council is chaired by CI President Richard R. Rush.

VC STEM is a constellation of schools, businesses, government agencies, museums and a host of other local organizations, including CI, that are working together to promote STEM education for Ventura County students from pre-school to college.

Members of the rapidly-expanding VC STEM have been meeting regularly to discuss various methods to enhance STEM education throughout the county. The most recent meeting was held April 13 at the Channel Islands Boating Center.

The guest speaker was Gerald Solomon, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation who co-chairs the national STEM Funders Network, which is a mix of 20 education-focused private and corporate foundations working together to increase the expertise of those wishing to invest in STEM education.

In 2015, STEM Funders also recognized Ventura County’s unique potential to nourish STEM education by naming it one of 27 “STEM Ecosystems” in the U.S. That means Ventura County’s location, resources and commitment make it an ideal climate for STEM education to flourish.

For additional information contact CI’s Professor of Chemistry Phil Hampton at Philip.hampton@csuci.edu or 805-437-8869.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands 
(CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more by visiting CI's Social Media.

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