CSU Channel Islands Launches Countywide STEM Regional Network

CSU Channel Islands (CI) will host a celebration of the official launch of the Ventura County STEM Regional Network beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23 at the CI Boating Center at the Channel Islands Harbor.

“This is sort of a coming-out party for our VC STEM network,” explained VC STEM Planning Director Philip Hampton, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry at CI. “We’ve spent almost a year planning. Now we move from the ideation stage to the action stage.”

The VC STEM Network is a leadership hub for regional companies, universities, government agencies, parks, schools, museums and a host of other local organizations working together to improve educational outcomes in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) for all students throughout Ventura County.

VC STEM was made possible by a $75,000 grant awarded at the end of 2014 by the Amgen Foundation, the charitable arm of the Thousand Oaks biotechnology company.

Hampton put together the grant proposal and has since headed a steering committee that put together another grant to further benefit the network.

VC STEM was launched under the Ventura County P-20 Council, a group of like-minded partners from education, business, parent organizations and other community agencies interested in making Ventura County’s educational system the best it can be. The P-20 Council is chaired by CI President Richard R. Rush.

Legislators, educators and P-20 councilmembers are among those invited to the VC STEM launch, which will begin with demonstrations of partnerships including crowd-pleasing exhibits from Hampton’s popular Science Carnival, which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24 at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Oxnard.

When the VC STEM network gets down to work, members will concentrate on three areas: 1) Early STEM learning; 2) STEM expanded learning; and 3) STEM professional learning for educators.

Early STEM will involve a look at how to stimulate kids’ interest in science from birth to Grade 3, and ways to introduce math at an early age.

STEM expanded learning is about science outside of the classroom, which may include science or technology clubs kids attend after school.

“It’s a powerful area where you can introduce science in an informal setting,” Hampton said. “Like computers and 3-D printing.

The third area of concentration will concern ways to get professional STEM training for kindergarten through third grade teachers who would like to feel more comfortable teaching science and math to elementary school students.

The VC STEM Regional Network is part of a larger nationwide initiative known as the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative, a countrywide campaign devoted to creating STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities for students from pre-school to college.

This fall, Ventura County was named as a “STEM Learning Ecosystem,” which means the area was chosen as one of 27 regions considered ideal to pilot the national STEM initiative.

About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI’s strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master’s degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI’s Social Media.