Sonoma State University was recently granted for 1.3 million dollars for its underrepresented minorities in the STEM majors at SSU , according to Nate Galvan, Marketing and Media Specialist at Sonoma State University. “Sonoma State University is in line to receive $1.3 million in conjunction with three other colleges as part of a project to close equity and achievement gaps in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.” said Galvan.
The 1.3 million was granted to help students of different ethnic backgrounds, and minority groups who are not often part of STEM majors. It is not too often that you see women in these courses, because it is a male dominant work field.
Selene Munoz, a pre-nursing major at Sonoma State said, “Although I am a nursing major, in the different chemistry and biology classes I have taken, I do feel like a minority. Sonoma is not a very diverse place, so I feel that making these courses more accessible to students who need a little more support will bring higher rates of success.”
This program was built to help students achieve in their intro courses in the different part of the sciences. It will also help those who are looking for a gateway into STEM majors and courses. Sonoma State professors Jennifer Lillig- Whiles and Carmen Works are working hand in hand with other professors from UC Berkeley, College of Marin and Diablo Valley College in order to create a program that promotes the success of its students.
When looking at the demographics of the school, Sonoma State is a primarily white school being 48% in 2016. Coming in second is its Latin students with 29%, Black students with 2% and Asian students at 5% according to collegesimply.com
Although the statistics are primarily split between Latin and White students, there still seems to be a split in the STEM programs on campus. When looking into a classroom of 20-30 students, it is noticeable that they are predominantly white. Whether it be biology, chemistry or computer science.
It is to no surprise that Sonoma State is dominated by its female students, with women being 60% of its students population it would be expected that women would be equally distributed through the STEM classes, but the classes are not distributed evenly.
“The award is part of the California Education Learning Lab awarding a total of $7.5 million to six CSU campuses: Fullerton State, Humboldt State, Cal State Los Angeles, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cal State San Marcos and Sonoma State. The Learning Lab has an annual budget of $10 million to increase learning outcomes and close equity and achievement gaps across California’s public higher education segments.” said Galvan.
The program “learning lab” went into effect during Summer session 2019, and its experimental phase will go through June 2022. The success rate will be measured and the program will be adjusted throughout the next three years.
The university must make an effort to support its students and their academic success. This is especially important while trying to create an environment where there are equality and diversity amongst its students.
With this program, Sonoma State is working to promote an environment which is culturally diverse, and provides equal opportunity to all of its students on campus.