Cal State Long Beach HSI-Program Manager is Dedicated to Supporting STEM Students

Monica Alarcon


​Helen Barriere (middle) with two Cal State Long Beach STEM students at the 2018 HENAAC Conference in Pasadena. ​



Helen Barriere has worked with STEM students and their academic development for over six years. Her mission has always been to create a “positive student learning environment where students feel enthusiastic, encouraged, safe and inspired to add/contribute to the university in the most ethical and professional way.” She is the Program Manager for the HSI-STEM program at Cal State Long Beach. She has also taught STEM students within the Colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Engineering at the university.

Throughout her career she has always sought to connect with students in meaningful ways. She approaches all her interactions with STEM students with a positive intent and purpose. She understands that students initial contacts on campus can be the most important or critical to their overall academic success leading them to achieving their goals and dreams.

Helen has accomplished this by providing thoughtful workshops for students she serves. She has created workshops titled “What is Equity? Connecting Our Work to Purpose”, “Being the Author of Your Story”, “Networking Like a Pro”, “STEM Conferences A-Z” and College Survival Skills: College 101”. In addition, she co-designs campus presentations, workshops, and programs for STEM students at Cal State Long Beach. These programs have led her to successfully co-train student participants into becoming Cal State Long Beach STEM peer mentors. She really enjoys seeing undergraduate student’s professional development and growth.

Helen is also able to connect with her students due to her own CSU student experiences. Helen attended California State University, Northridge and received her B.A. in Sociology. She then moved on to obtain her Master of Science in Counseling, Option in Student Development in Higher Education degree from Cal State Long Beach. Both her CSU undergraduate/graduate and professional experience allows her to further develop STEM student initiatives and build a trusting relationship with her STEM students. 

Her hope is that she can impact students to succeed academically and after graduation to achieve their personal and professional goals. She is also very passionate about ensuring underrepresented students in STEM fields succeed. She constantly works with campus partners to maintain and promote their success. 
What is most rewarding to Helen is hearing about the accomplishments of students after they graduate. She often receives emails from students that tell her about the STEM job opportunities they have accepted and how they feel they are fulfilling their STEM dreams.

During COVID-19, her commitment and passion to serving STEM students has continued. Moving to an online format has not been the easiest for her but she has always had a strong support team of colleagues, supervisors, and mentors to help her continue to do the work she does. She and her colleagues work hard every day to reach as many students as possible to help connect them to the campus, STEM resources, and their major.

Most recently, Helen assisted in the virtual adaptation process of the 2- week summer STEP into STEM program, a transitional student math program for freshman. Although, this was the first time this summer program was conducted virtually, she was excited to meet the new enthusiastic STEM freshman. She was pleased to see them virtually interact with her, the program mentors, math instructors and with each other.  

Helen is excited about the new academic year even through its new virtual platform. She is currently working on their next Bienvenida event with team members. During Bienvenida, they will greet the new STEM students’ parents and she is looking forward to it.