STEM pact

STEMpact

May 3, 2017 — With their families by their sides, 70 high school and middle school students will gather at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center on May 11 to enter into a pact with Oxnard College and/or CSU Channel Islands (CSUCI).

Oxnard Union High School District students will sign a STEMpact, which requires the student to keep up his or her grades, start researching career choices in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) and completing college preparatory work, among other promises.

Middle school students will commit to one of the STEM academies at Hueneme or Channel Islands High School. Channel Islands has the Marine Science Academy and Mechatronics Engineering Academy and Hueneme has the Academy of Engineering and Design. They will also commit to STEMpact once they enter high school.

In return, CSUCI and Oxnard College will guarantee entry into one or both institutions, provided students meet the minimum admission criteria. The institutions will provide a wide-ranging support network, undergraduate mentors, information about financial aid and other academic and emotional guidance to help the student successfully enter and complete college.

“As part of STEMpact, CSU Channel Islands will provide college students as academic coaches who will help students develop social and cultural capital related to going to college,” said CSUCI Professor of Chemistry Phil Hampton, Ph.D. “Families of the STEMpact students may not have gone to college and need support in how to help their children succeed in college.”

The idea behind STEMpact is to create a college-going mentality and provide a clear pathway to college for the high school and middle school students. Designed for underrepresented minorities, the STEMpact program is the result of a collaboration with CSUCI, Oxnard College, Oxnard Union High School District and the Ventura County P-20 Council.

“The Ventura County P-20 Council is committed to building new pathways to higher education. I applaud CSU Channel Islands and Oxnard College for partnering with area middle and high schools on this collaboration that will allow more students to achieve their dreams of a college degree,” said Ventura County Superintendent of Schools Stan Mantooth, Chair of the Ventura County P-20 Council.

With STEMpact, the students will agree to embark on one of three pathways to college: 1) Enrolling in Oxnard College and transferring to CSUCI; 2) Enrolling in Oxnard College; or 3) Enrolling in CSUCI as a freshman.

The STEMpact program is part of CSUCI’s Project PROMESAS (Pathways with Regional Outreach and Mathematics Excellence for Student Achievement in STEM), which is aimed in part at strengthening STEM pathways to and through college.

Hampton believes one of the strongest components of the program will be the mentoring STEMpact students will receive from CSUCI students.

“What’s powerful is the near-peer mentoring where you have a college student able to interact with a high school or middle school student – sharing with them the pathway they took to college,” Hampton said.

Middle school students will participate in a formal ceremony where they have a personalized STEMpact contract signed by representatives of CSUCI (Vice President for Business & Financial Affairs Ysabel Trinidad), Oxnard College (President Cynthia Azari), Oxnard Union High School District (Superintendent Penelope DeLeon, Ph.D.), and superintendents for each student’s middle school.

The STEMpact event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Oxnard College, located at 4000 South Rose Ave., Oxnard.