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Cal State University East Bay Institute for STEM Education
Connections to the Cleantech Field


CSUEB STEM participant from Girls Inc. shows off plans for a biomass farm

STEM education integrates the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering and math into a cohesive teaching model for all grades. The California State University East Bay's (CSUEB's) Institute for STEM Education was launched approximately 12 months ago under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Couch to advance STEM teaching in parallel with the rapidly changing needs in STEM fields, such as cleantech.

In addition to leading efforts to transform undergraduate STEM education at CSUEB, the Institute acts as a facilitator of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network. Gateways creates relationships with partners across Alameda and Contra Costa Counties committed to improving STEM education for students of all ages.

Studies show the importance of early numeracy during the preschool years, the need for the region's teachers to access professional development in STEM subjects, and increasing the time students are engaged in high quality STEM learning opportunities via partnerships with after-school programs, and more. Dr. Couch said we "especially need to look at the way we're engaging high school students, and the supports needed to ensure that high school graduates transfer to two- and four-year colleges."

At CSUEB, "we want to expose our students to the work taking place in cleantech industries. We'd love to be able to have internships and speakers within our courses. In some instances, we need industry partners to help us reconceptualize what's being taught."

Some STEM opportunities begin with faculty and trickle down to the students. CSUEB faculty have expressed an interest in going on sabbaticals to work in cleantech and other industries.

Students studying outside of traditional STEM disciplines benefit as well. "Our work as an institute is not only to produce more STEM majors—although we hope that will happen—it's also to infuse STEM education across all four of our colleges," said Dr. Couch. "So those majoring in art, or marketing, or communications have enough knowledge of STEM that they can hit the ground running in STEM-oriented businesses in other kinds of roles."

Some of the results? Art and computer science students working to integrate sustainability into game design; communications faculty teaching through the lens of sustainability; technology students learning to capture data on water and energy usage and conveying that information to the public in everyday terms.

"There are lots of ways, beyond traditional STEM majors, for preparing students for occupations related to cleantech and sustainability. Cleantech is not a narrow set of things you need to know. It is, in and of itself, interdisciplinary."

For cleantech industry partners that can offer internships and speakers to the STEM Institute, please contact Dr. Couch at Stephanie.Couch@csueastbay.edu or (510) 885-3022.or (510) 885-3022.


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