STEM Advantage logo
February 2013
Advantage Points
The STEM Advantage monthly newsletter

"Women entering college often have little exposure to engineering and computer science, and don't realize they could apply knowledge from these fields in many ways to pursue rewarding careers that benefit society. Programs that introduce female students to the broad range of relevant applications can be very successful in attracting women to STEM careers."    --Maria Klawe,President, Harvey Mudd College, and former dean of engineering and professor of computer science at Princeton University

STEM Advantage - What's happening!
Everything is coming together for a successful pilot!  On February 13th, Dr. Beheshti, Chair of Computer Science, Cindy and Lee Ann met with more than 100 students at Cal State Dominguez Hills to discuss the STEM Advantage pilot program and timeline. It was very exciting - great questions and interest from the students. We discussed the tremendous support we have received from individuals and companies for our mission and these students. Their eyes lit up when we mentioned companies such as SpaceX, DIRECTV, Fox Entertainment Group and Toyota Financial Services, providing internships and the mentors who have reached out to be part of the program. 
 computers and students in classroom
We shared the requirements to apply for and stay in the program. Dr. Beheshti believes this will encourage students who might not have the GPA needed to apply for the pilot, to study and apply for the program next year. We also stressed the importance of staying in school and earning a bachelor's degree in a STEM field, as well as the skills gap in the U.S. and unfilled jobs available to graduates with STEM degrees.


In March we will profile the students who apply. We think you'll be as inspired as we are!

SAVE THE DATE - Sunday, May 5th!
Please join our Board of Directors & Friends for the first annual STEM Advantage fundraiser to raise money to fund the program's scholarships, and honor students selected for the pilot.
  Space Shuttle at the California Science Center
Date:  Sunday, May 5
Time:  6:00 PM - 9:00 PM 
           Cocktails and supper
Location:  California Science Center, Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion, Los Angeles

Host and MC for the evening will be Frank Mottek, award-winning broadcast journalist on KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO. Did you know ... Frank provided the live descriptions of all space shuttle launches for the CBS Radio Network from 1985 through 1991! 

For sponsorship opportunities or to donate an experience/tickets for the live auction, please contact Carole Schlocker at


If you cannot join us on May 5th and would like to contribute to the scholarships as an "investment" in these young scholars, we welcome donations via our website 


An invitation will be sent and posted soon at 

STEM Stats

Why we are seeking students who will be juniors and seniors in the Fall Semester 2013 to apply for the pilot program?  


1) Fewer than 50% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree. The majority switch to non-STEM majors during their first two years.  


2) Projections suggest that STEM-related employment opportunities will grow nearly 17% over the next decade, and that more than 60% of those jobs will require a college degree or higher.


We hope to create a compelling program to inspire high achieving, diverse students with an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and/or math to earn a degree, go after their dreams and realize their potential.

Cal State Dominguez Hills

We are frequently asked why we selected California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) for our pilot program. When we consider our mission, it is hard to imagine a better university partner. A few reasons why:

Students with blue sky

  • Women, African Americans and Latinos today comprise only 20% of the STEM workforce, yet are projected to make-up 70% of the total workforce by 2017
  • Undergraduate enrollment at CSUDH is 54.7% Hispanic/Latino, 19.5% Black/African American, and 70% Women  (Fall 2012)
  • Developing under-represented students' skills and knowledge in critical STEM areas is a priority defined in the University's Strategic Plan
  • Our goals and the University's goals are aligned as we both believe internships and mentors help students succeed, and help increase retention and graduation rates. Scholarships enable students to earn their degree faster with less student loan debt
  • 75% of CSUDH alumni live within 25 miles of the university. We are developing students'  skills and knowledge, which will help the economic vitality of our region and California

We are keeping the pilot small so that we can work closely with the students, internship companies, mentors and university to continually learn and make adjustments as needed to ensure a win-win for all involved. Then we will expand to more students, universities and STEM-related majors in California and beyond.  



Employers report being unable to find qualified candidates in STEM, with more than one million new STEM jobs on the horizon. By partnering with STEM Advantage, corporate partners gain access to pre-screened, high achieving, diverse college students in technology-related studies. We have added additional support from the university and mentors Fox Group logoto complement existing internship programs, while providing a diverse pipeline of candidates who have interned at their company prior to graduation.


For the students, internships provide technical skills and real-world experiences that will Toyota Financial Serviceshelp them land their first position after graduation. They also develop communication and problem solving skills as well as self-confidence.


For the pilot, STEM Advantage is excited to partner with DIRECTV, SpaceX, Fox Group, Toyota Financial Services, and a few others to provide paid internships in a variety of information technology disciplines. Depending on the company, internships will be either year-SpaceX logo round at 10-20 hours per week and full-time in the summer, or full-time in the summer only.


We are grateful to have a pipeline of companies who want to provide internships in the

Los Angeles area and Orange County when we expand next year.            Direct TV logo

If you are interested in providing a paid IT-related internship for one or two students, and are  located within a reasonable driving distance from Cal State Dominguez Hills, please contact Cindy McKenzie at  


Mentoring Program

Students selected for the program will be provided mentors for the life of their time in the program. Each participant will be assigned a senior mentor who is established in an IT career, and a junior mentor who is just a few years out of college.  


Role models from Fox Group, Toyota Financial Services, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, Über Geek Girl, Alvarez and Marshall, Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Counterpoint Systems, and others have reached out to be mentors. Thank you! 

If you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Michelle Elkins at 
IT Career and Personal Development Workshops

As part of the Mentoring Program, we will hold quarterly IT career and personal development sessions for students in the pilot program and open to all students in the Computer Science Department at Cal State Dominguez Hills. We appreciate Fox Group sharing content from their Summer Internship program to jump start our workshops.  


In late April (and prior to Finals) we will hold a session on "Workplace Etiquette" to help students prepare for their internships.


In addition, we would like to thank Carole Schlocker of iSpace and a STEM Advantage Board member, who offered to conduct a workshop on interviewing skills for students prior to their interviews with the companies providing internships for the pilot. We will offer this workshop again next year and open it up to more students, as we think interviewing and listening are great skills to have.  

Student Selection Timeline

We are very excited to begin our pilot with full-time undergraduate students majoring in a program in the Computer Science Department at Cal State Dominguez Hills. Students must be on track to be a junior or senior in the Fall 2013 semester to apply. 


Here's our genstudents with colorful notebookseral 2013 timeline:

  • February - discuss program with students 
  • First week in March - applications due 
  • March - review applications, conduct Interviewing Skills workshop, conduct interviews and select students
  • Early April - announce students selected for the pilot
  • April - pair mentors and mentees and hold kick-off dinner
  • Late April - conduct Personal Development Workshop on Workplace Etiquette 
  • June - begin internships
  • September - receive full scholarship for one year, renewable based on maintaining requirements to stay in program
We will take you on the journey with us through this newsletter and updates at our website

Thanks again for supporting STEM Advantage. For more information, please visit our website at, or send an email to Lee Ann Kline at

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