STEM Engaged Learning
Position Descriptions
Kristina Barger
Kristina’s Story

Kristina Barger is an AmericCorps*VISTA alumna and program director for CSU STEM VISTA. Read how VISTA changed her life »

Below is a brief overview of the 2015-2016 VISTA positions and projects.

Cal Poly Pomona Engineering: The overall goal of the VISTA project is to increase interest, participation, retention and graduation in STEM fields among historically underrepresented and underserved populations, including women. This will be employed through the following recruitment and retention strategies: (a) student/parent programs to spark early STEM interest; (b) a school-based robotics program to introduce K-12 students to STEM careers and develop a community of learners; and (c) a service learning course to prepare college students for STEM outreach. Some of the VISTA activities will include: creating training materials for students and faculty; developing a database of existing outreach programs; create and conduct assessments of programs; develop and implement student parent program; plan and market creative robotics program, develop and maintain partnerships with K-12 educators. 

Cal Poly Pomona Maximizing Engineering Potential Program (MEP): The goal of this VISTA project is to enhance MEP’s six existing high impact practices (HIPs) through the development and integration of poverty alleviation activities/projects within each HIP. With community engagement serving as a cross-cutting theme underpinning each HIP, the VISTA project goal will include interfacing with and increasing interaction with community members from organizations that focus on poverty alleviation; these include the regional Peace Corps office, The Villages at Cabrillo, and the Pomona Valley Habitat for Humanity. Some of the activities will include: conducting a needs assessment of MEP students to determine level of preparedness for community engagement activities/projects, develop year-long community engagement projects; coordinate “Engineering Girls – It Takes a Village” program, and enhancing connections and communications with participating faculty and community partners.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo PEEPS: The goal of this VISTA project is to support the Cal Poly Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools (PEEPS), a NSF S-STEM grant that provides a scholarship program to academically talented, low-income STEM students. The goal of PEEPS is to recruit, retain, and graduate STEM students in a supportive environment that will enable them to thrive. Some of the VISTA activities will include: develop mentoring program for PEEPS cohorts; enhance the Engineering Student Success course; develop an Engineering Professional Success course; develop and coordinate high school and community college mentorship program; develop and coordinate workshops for PEEPS students and high school students; recruit for and coordinate K-12 STEM outreach efforts; support Bright Future after-school program; and develop teacher track to EPIC summer camp.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo LSAMP: This goal of this VISTA project will be focused on the promotion of undergraduate research experiences as a high impact practice for the LSAMP population; increasing LSAMP efforts to support the development of self-identity as a STEM professional; and, increasing LSAMP and university capacity to support AB 540/DACA students. Some of the VISTA activities will include facilitating campus-level stakeholder dialogue on the evaluation of the impacts of undergraduate research experiences; developing shared evaluation rubrics on research experiences;  developing and conducting trainings for faculty on best practices for working with undergraduate researchers; refining and developing workshops for students about applying to research opportunities; supporting a mentorship program; and coordinating events and trainings to support undocumented students.

CSU Bakersfield Fab Lab: The goal of this VISTA project is to inspire low-income and underrepresented students in the Kern County area to see STEM careers as a possibility for their future. CSU, Bakersfield is in a unique position with an on-campus digital fabrication and rapid prototyping lab, the Fab Lab. The VISTA member will engage K-12 students in the engineering design process and digital fabrication through a combination of in-school visits, after-school programming and on campus field trips. The VISTA member will allow students to discover what engineering means in a practical and hands-on way. The VISTA member will also maintain and enhance partnerships with Kern County K-12 schools, recruit, train, and supervise CSU Bakersfield students to conduct K-12 outreach programs; coordinate site visits; and develop K-12 curriculum and programming.

Fresno State College of Natural Science and Math: The goal of the VISTA project is to build capacity for student success in the College of Science and Math by directly contributing to our STEM Collaboratives Project that integrates a summer enrichment experience, first-year experience, and re-designed courses.  The VISTA will assist with institutionalizing and assessing the freshmen summer STEM enrichment program, first year experience, and e- portfolios. Some VISTA activities will include developing and implementing student success workshops; improve self-efficacy and sense of belonging by coordinating outside of class first year experience activities; develop manual and training on E-Portfolios; assisting with recruitment and coordination of peer leaders in the summer experience program; coordinating with external community partners and on campus support services; and expanding undergraduate research and internship opportunities.

Fresno State Construction Management: The goal of the VISTA project is to help develop and build a sustained pipeline in K-12 schools and community colleges for the construction management program through active outreach, develop and strengthen the partnership between the construction management program and industry, and serve as liaison between the construction management program and community based organizations/industry to help identify internships and service learning opportunities. Some VISTA activities will include develop and maintain partnerships with K-12 schools and community colleges to create a pipeline; develop and maintain partnerships with industry and community based organizations to offer internships and service learning opportunities; develop and coordinate program visits for prospective students and high school students; and connect students to advising and on-campus resources.

CSU Long Beach College of Natural Science and Math: The overall goal for the VISTA project is to build a pathway between community college partners and CSULB to recruit and nurture STEM students as they transition from CSULB and into the BUILD program. The BUILD program aims to increase diversity in STEM by providing research opportunities, financial support, familial outreach, and mentoring/advising. Some of the VISTA activities will include modifying and conducting STEM student recruitment efforts; support students by empowering program leads; create a sense of community amongst the BUILD students; develop an outreach and recruitment manual; work closely with community college faculty and staff; develop and implement welcome sessions for STEM transfer students; visit local community colleges for student recruitment; and develop and implement a peer mentor program within BUILD.

COAST (at CSU Monterey Bay): The goal of the VISTA project is to engage students from all backgrounds in marine science to increase retention and graduation rates and prepare them to enter the workforce in degree-related, high-paying fields that will ultimately help them achieve a higher standard of living; increase diversity in marine science and related STEM fields; facilitate the success of all CSU students. Some of the activities will include: increasing student participation in the existing COAST Summer Student Internship Program; developing and piloting the COAST Scholars in Training program (an undergraduate research program for first and second year and community college students); developing and piloting Career Pathways (a K-12 marine career awareness program); and tracking student experiences and success.

CSUPERB (at San Diego State) **two positions available**: The goal of the VISTA project is to build on-campus and off-campus capacity across the CSU system to support nascent academic entrepreneurs.  Programming will include: (1) a mini-grant program to support faculty and student biotechnology entrepreneurs, (2) a statewide network to match faculty and students with alumni, external partners, mentors and campus-based entrepreneurship resources, (3) a tailored biotechnology commercialization curriculum for CSU students and faculty, and (4) a recurring series of 6-10 regional meetings and workshops co-hosted with external partners around California each year. Some VISTA activities will include creating and implementing a process that provides students with information about CSU Biological Sciences I-Corps opportunities; developing relationships with alumni, biotechnology and entrepreneurship industry organizations; building an administrative framework to match campus-based entrepreneurs with mentors/external partners.

CSU Monterey Bay School of Computing and Design: The goal of this VISTA project is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing, graduating, and securing gainful post-graduation opportunities in the high-demand fields of computer science and information technology through developing and enhancing a comprehensive support services infrastructure that includes academic support (progress monitoring, tutoring, enrichment workshops), professional development (mentoring, internships, workshops), and high school outreach (academic preparation and summer bridge). Some of the VISTA activities will include establishing a progress monitoring and intervention/tutoring system for struggling cohort students; create process to share information about on-campus support resources for students; design and conduct reflection activities for student interns; coordinating with faculty to enhance and implement an afterschool program that engages and exposes local high school students to computer science; support summer bridge programming; and developing a student mentoring program with alumni and industry professionals.

Sacramento State College of Natural Science and Math: The goal of the VISTA project is to leverage the expertise and initiative of experienced students to facilitate the academic success of their peers. The VISTA member will work to design and implement a Commit to Study Program which aims to increase the academic success of incoming students (1st time freshmen and transfers) by promoting strategies that will accelerate their success in a rigorous university environment. The VISTA member will work together with student leaders to provide the following: collaborative study opportunities, skills development seminars, and connections to existing high- impact practices (e.g., peer-assisted learning, learning communities, Science Educational Equity Program, undergraduate research opportunities). They will facilitate STEM-specific study skills and time management workshops, will spearhead the use of social media, and will promote the “study 30 hours per week” message.

Sacramento State College of Natural Science and Math:The goal of the VISTA project is to build a strong culture of community outreach at Sacramento State. The VISTA member will serve as a liaison between existing programs (Science Educational Equity and Center for Science and Math Success) to increase K-12 student aspiration to degrees and careers in STEM. College students connected to existing college programs will reach back into their communities as mentors, tutors, and coaches. The VISTA will coordinate efforts of student leaders to provide study opportunities with K-12 partners and campus visits with authentic lab experiences. Some of the VISTA activities will include: conducting a needs assessment of local schools; designing and implementing campus visits, lab and field-based experiences; and recruit and train undergraduate Outreach Ambassadors.

CSU Los Angeles Department of Physics and Astronomy: The goal of the VISTA project is to increase the number of students in the overall STEM pipeline feeding into CSULA by making high school students aware of the myriad career paths in STEM. This project will also focus on informing potential and existing physics majors about career opportunities outside of academia such as business and industry. By enhancing mentoring and advising programs, students will have a better understanding of these career paths and will be in prime positions to fill these roles. Some of the VISTA activities will include conducting a needs assessment and ultimately improving advisement services offered to students; developing a service learning course; assisting students and teachers at Lincoln High School with offering information and hands-on learning around physics curriculum and careers;  and forming an engaged physics and astronomy department alumni group.

Humboldt State College of Natural Resources and Sciences: The goal for the CSU STEM VISTA project is to establish and build the infrastructure essential for the HSU STEM Collaboratives summer immersion experience. We will offer two versions of a summer immersion, one campus-based and the other field-based.   Both versions will balance social/team building activities with small academic activities.  The program will employ several staff and faculty, plus RAMP mentors. Some of the VISTA member activities will include: developing and implementing training and train-the-trainer curriculum for RAMP mentors; coordinating logistics, faculty, staff and peer mentors; enhancing partnerships with community based organizations; developing the infrastructure required to support a successful summer immersion experience; develop orientation manuals and guides for organizing the summer immersion experience.

San Jose State College of Engineering: The goal of the VISTA project is to identify, gather, and leverage campus, community, and industry resources required for pilot implementation of an EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) course and program within the College of Engineering at SJSU. Some of the VISTA activities will include: developing and planning for pilot year of EPICS; establishing the EPICS service-learning course; assessing interest in the EPICS program among students within the College of Engineering; developing community partnerships and identify community-based engineering projects for EPICS program; and developing an evaluation process for measuring the effectiveness of EPICS during pilot year; developing funding strategies for the EPIC course and program.

San Jose State Jay Pinson STEM Education Program: The goal of the VISTA project is to support and expand collaborative initiatives offered by San José State University’s Jay Pinson STEM Education Program that promote K-16 student success in STEM (in Computer Science and Cybersecurity, in particular) and that mobilize SJSU students to serve the local community. Some of the VISTA activities will include implementing a process that provides students with information about STEM-focused service learning opportunities offered through the Jay Pinson STEM Education Program; developing and proposing a program model aimed at the recruitment and retention of students studying computer science and Cybersecurity; designing and implementing projects to engage K-12 students in STEM; and delivering and further developing train-the-trainer curriculum for SJSU service learning students and community-based instructors involved with Y/GSN program.