S.T.E.M. center makes math cool

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By Melissa O’Beck / Asst. Features Editor

Lunch Hour (Bethania Alvarez / Staff Photographer)

By Melissa O’Beck / Asst. Features Editor

Welcome to the S.T.E.M. center, home of the science, technology, engineer and mathematics majors. 

Modeled after an old fashioned science lab complete with lava lamps, the S.T.E.M. center invites the students in to support, learn, tutor and enlighten one another in the S.T.E.M. fields. 

Although it is somewhat tight on space, the center is fully equipped with counselors, open access computers, Cal State representatives and supplemental group instruction. 

The S.T.E.M. center is a new program that opened at the end of April. 

It all started when the Department of Education awarded focus on success for students in S.T.E.M. with a 1.8 million dollar budget in October 2008. 

“There was a need to represent minorities such as women and veterans,” Bostra Moeung, the Educational Advisor, explained. “This is what allowed us to win the grant.” 

Although this program was set up to encourage minorities, it is not limited to anyone. 

This program is designed to facilitate anyone and everyone who is interested in the program, whether it is their major or simply a general education course they must complete.

“It is vital that S.T.E.M. majors have the resources and guidance that they need. Our government has predicted that in the next fifteen years there is going to be a mass amount of retirements in the S.T.E.M. fields, and those vacancies are going to need to be filled,” said the S.T.E.M. counselor, Garth Schultz. 

S.T.E.M.’s ambition is to help increase the transfer rate in these fields by enhancing the success and retention of the students. 

The center accomplishes this by providing all the students with the resources and aids that they need. 

The budget is dispersed among the two full time counselors, student tutors, one educational advisor, and open access computers/laptops that have the Mathematica program installed. 

Along with all of these valuable resources, there are faculty members that donate their time to come and interact with the S.T.E.M. students, sometime to be of assistance and engage, other times to socialize. 

“I did not have this type of engagement center with these resources when I was going to college,” said Moeung. “The students should embrace these sources and opportunity.”

Although it is too soon to show the statistics of its success, the jam-packed classroom speaks for itself. 

Students seem to be benefitting from this program in various ways. 

While some students will stop by for information from a counselor or mentoring, others practically utilize the center as a campground where they can interact with other S.T.E.M. majors, study, get mentoring, and just stay on top of things. 

Schultz, who is one of the two S.T.E.M. counselors, explains, “If you surround yourself with students who share the same goals and aspirations, then you are more likely to succeed. You must congregate from the social and educational stand-point. That is what the center is all about.”

The S.T.E.M. center goes above and beyond to reach out to students   who may be skeptical about their major, or what career field their major will lead them into. 

This is why the program has created alternative learning approaches like field trips. 

The last field trip took students to the San Diego Wild Animal Park which was geared towards biology, zoology, environmental science, and landscape architecture majors. 

This helps spark interest in the students and allow them to see the program has much more job opportunity to offer than they are even aware of. 

“It is an exhilarating area being in the cutting edge of all of the new, state of the art innovations. S.T.E.M. is the careers of the future,” said Virginia Mckee-Leone, dean of instruction and microbiologist.

The S.T.E.M. center is located in the MLK building in room 222. It is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

They have an open door policy with no enrollment necessary. If you are baffled on your major, have questions about the S.T.E.M. career fields, or merely have a question about homework from a S.T.E.M. class then stop by. 

The Stem center may be the answer to your future. 

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