ECST Raises Nearly $5,500,000 in 2020-2021 to Advance STEM Research and Student Success

ECST students collaborate, work, and research in lab

ECST Students collaborate, research, and experiment in a lab.

ECST Nearly Doubles External Research and Program Grants in 2020-2021 Over Previous Year

ECST almost doubled the external research and student success program development funds awarded over the previous year to nearly $5.5M. The funds will be used to expand existing programs and create new ones focused on engineering research, improving undergraduate education, and developing the STEM pipeline from middle school through college graduation.

Faculty-led Research Grants:

  • $2M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for ECO-STEM, to improve undergraduate education through a new model of teaching and learning. The grant will enable ECST to create Eco-STEM, a healthy education “ecosystem” designed to help all students, staff, and faculty thrive as we learn together. Led by CE Professor Gustavo Menezes.
  • $1.25M from NSF ADVANCE Partnership to bring about systemic changes to increase the representation of women, particularly underrepresented minority women, and to support equity for diverse groups, in the California State University system engineering professoriate across 19 campuses. CSU Fresno serves as the principal investigator (PI) with Cal State LA, San Jose State University, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as co-PIs. ECST lead faculty is CE Assistant Professor Maryam Nazari.
  • $325K from NSF for the CLIMB-UP program, which seeks to redesign key sophomore “gateway” courses using mastery-based grading to improve course completion rates and foster and measure shifts in student attitudes towards learning, confidence as learners, and the development of engineering identity. Led by ME Professor David Raymond.
  • $625K from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to create a Graduate Fellows Research Endowment Program to support students studying clean-air technologies. Cal State LA is home to the NSF-funded Center for Energy and Sustainability and the Sikand Center for Sustainable and Intelligent Infrastructure. Ongoing research concentrates on air quality, climate change, stationary greenhouse gases pollution, microgrids, big data, intelligent systems and sustainable transportation and energy. Led by Technology Professor David Blekhman.
  • $425K from NSF for the acquisition of a combined bi-directional cyclic shear apparatus for research and education on earthquake-resilient infrastructure that will result in a more accurate characterization of soil properties and more reliable and less costly civil engineering designs. Led by CE Assistant Professor Welson Kwan.
  • $50K from NSF awarded to Dr. Masood Shahverdi, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, and Dr. Arash Jamehbozorg, Associate Professor of Electrical, to develop an artificial intelligence platform for customized power management in a solar plus battery microgrid.
  • $45K from Xilinx to develop women innovators in bioengineering by providing freshman and sophomore women with skills and experience in medical robotics and mobile health and networking opportunities with professionals in the field. The project is led by ECE Professor Deborah Won and ECE Assistant professor Curtis Wang.
  • $30K from NSF awarded to Dr. Negin Forouzesh, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, to develop a computational structural biology workshop at IEEE BIBM 2021.
  • $25K from Intel Labs awarded to Dr. Curtis Wang, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, to develop instructional labs and redesign digital design courses to demystify xPU programming for engineering analysis.
  • $18K from MathWorks awarded to Dr. Mike Thorburn, Director of the Capstone Senior Design Program, and Dr. Chris Bachman, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, to develop materials for a self-paced workshop on flight dynamics and control of UAV drones using MATLAB and Simulink.

Support for the Acceleration Initiative:

  • $300K from the College Futures Foundation for our newest Acceleration Initiative program, Successful Transfer and Retention (STAR), a partnership between ECST and Los Angeles area community colleges to create new pathways and pre-and post-transfer peer mentor support to accelerate the success of transfer students coming to ECST. Led by Associate Dean Jane Dong, Director of Acceleration Daniel Galvan, and Technology Chair Rupa Purasinghe.
  • $75K from the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation for our Acceleration Initiative STEP program, a summer bridge program for students entering ECST in the fall. Led by Director of Acceleration Daniel Galvan.
  • $50K from Boeing Global Engagement to double the number of female participants and increase opportunities for parent involvement in our Acceleration Initiatives LAunchPad and MESA programs. LAunchPad is a summer camp for high school girls and MESA is for middle-school outreach. Led by Director of Acceleration Daniel Galvan and Outreach Coordinator Thelma Federico.

Successful Transfer and Retention

Dr. Jane Dong leads our “Successful Transfer and Retention” (STAR) program at Cal State LA to ensure transfer students from diverse communities have pathways and peer support to succeed in STEM. We’re excited to share College Futures Foundation recognized Dr. Dong in their Leaders Driving Change series.  Watch the video to see how Dr. Dong takes a collaborative approach to provide transfer students with the support they need--and how STAR could be a model for the state.

Leaders Driving Change - STAR Program