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White House recognizes Cal State L.A. for excellence in educating Latino science students

September 15, 2015


The White House has selected Cal State L.A. to be part of a nationwide initiative that recognizes excellence in educating Latino students.

The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics announced its “Bright Spots in Hispanic Education” during a news conference on Tuesday that coincided with the launch of National Hispanic Heritage Month. 

The Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) Programs and the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at Cal State L.A. are among 230 Bright Spots, or programs that have helped promote educational excellence in the Latino community. They are included in an online catalog that was announced during the Washington, D.C. news conference. 

“There has been notable progress in Hispanic educational achievement, and it is due to the efforts of these Bright Spots in Hispanic Education, programs and organizations working throughout the country to help Hispanic students reach their full potential," said Alejandra Ceja, executive director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence.

The MORE Programs is an umbrella organization of programs established to prepare motivated students of color to earn Ph.D.’s in science fields. These programs are funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

The LSAMP program is funded by the National Science Foundation and aims to improve student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a focus on increasing underrepresented students in the fields. The program involves students in hands-on research that leads to co-authored publications in peer reviewed journals.

“We’re proud that our MORE Programs and LSAMP have helped diversify the nation’s laboratories and universities,” Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino said. “Science is richer because of the presence and contributions of our graduates.”

In its most recent listing, the National Science Foundation ranked Cal State L.A. as the top baccalaureate institution of origin for Latino science and engineering Ph.D. recipients among all undergraduate and master’s colleges and universities in the continental U.S. MORE alumni are the largest contributors to this ranking. The MORE Programs are directed by Professor Carlos Gutiérrez.

The White House initiative was established in 1990 to address the educational disparities faced by the Latino community. The initiative seeks to leverage these Bright Spots to encourage promising practices, peer advice, and partnerships to promote educational attainment.

“This award recognizes the exceptional dedication and talent of both our students and their faculty mentors. It is also a wonderful tribute to the longstanding success of the Cal State L.A. MORE and LSAMP programs in preparing under-represented minority students for Ph.D. programs,” said Scott Bowman, dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences.  “These programs are perhaps the best exemplar one could imagine of the teacher-scholar model in higher education.”

Photo: Cal State L.A. MORE student conducting research in lab. (Credit: Cal State L.A.)

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