Editor’s note: As part of CSUSB’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the university is showcasing a number of earlier stories highlighting Hispanic and Latino students, alumni, faculty and staff, along with programs and grants for the university’s diverse populations.
This news release was originally published on Oct. 9, 2018.

Hispanic Heritage Month banner

Cal State San Bernardino’s Office of Student Research (OSR) is collaborating with Riverside City College (RCC) for the recently funded National Science Foundation grant project, STEM en familia: Guiding Critical Transitions to the Baccalaureate.
STEM en familia will provide 400 incoming RCC Promise Program students, who have declared STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors, supports to increase retention within the STEM disciplines while they are at RCC, and subsequently increase transfer rates to CSUSB and the University of California, Riverside.
“We are looking forward to being a part of this wonderful program and opening our campus to potential transfer students who are interested in STEM fields and research,” said Christina Hassija, director of the OSR and an associate professor in the Department of Psychology. “Having greater opportunities for transfer students to become involved in research and connect to potential mentors earlier in their academic careers is critically important to students’ long-term success and learning.”
STEM en familia will implement the following interventions to bolster STEM retention and transfer rates:

  • Summer bridge program from high school to college;
  • Home courses;
  • College and career validation workshops;
  • Undergraduate research experiences;
  • Near-peer mentoring; and
  • Cross-enrollment courses.

STEM en familia is a fully comprehensive program that seemingly removes  known barriers – academic, social and financial – to student success, and will contribute to understanding student academic performance, progress and degree attainment in STEM. It will also uncover why specific program components and activities might or might not be helpful in improving student academic outcomes for low-income and first-generation students.
If STEM en familia successfully increases the quality and quantity of majors seeking and attaining bachelor’s degrees in STEM, it will be an excellent example for other two-year/four-year partnerships.
The project has the potential to improve STEM transfer student preparedness and retention within STEM fields.
Because nearly half of the annual incoming students are transfers from local community colleges, the faculty and staff at CSUSB have a unique understanding of the needs of this population and of effective programming to support those needs. In light of this, the STEM en familia grant will be an excellent platform through which the University may further support this group of students. 
The OSR will provide small group-based summer research experiences to three cohorts of RCC students – with approximately 175 participating over years one through three of this project.
The OSR will leverage its investment in the university’s existing, highly successful Undergraduate Summer Research Program for CSUSB students for this project.
The OSR director will recruit CSUSB faculty and students to serve as faculty or peer mentors each year and assist with organizing the summer program for the three cohorts of RCC students. Each faculty and peer mentor will mentor five RCC students for a one-week summer research experience and participate in the OSR Summer Research Program Conference.
An information session will be held for interested faculty on Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. in the Physical Sciences building, room 124. Interested faculty are encouraged to attend.
For more information on Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Strategic Communication at (909) 537-5007 and visit inside.csusb.edu.