2012 Academy for STEM Success

A National Model Summer Bridge Program for Incoming High School Graduates
 interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Majors

a production of the
San Diego City College School of Engineering & Technologies, Mathematics, Sciences and Nursing

"The STEM Academy helped me to gain confidence in myself. 
It gave me the courage to succeed
." - Student from 2011 STEM Academy

2012 San Diego City College Academy for STEM Success
An Introduction to the City College STEM Culture of Success

The Academy for 50 students (25 females and 25 males) will be scheduled from 9 am – 3 pm, Tuesday – Thursday, August 14-16 - Schedule
Location: Room T-326 (Campus map, including parking)

Academy experience - photo gallery on Shutterfly!
(Also available: Photo gallery from "2011 STEM Academy")




Background & Overview

Addressing the need to increase the retention and success of students in STEM majors (References: 3,5), City College is offering an Academy for STEM Success, a summer bridge program for preparing incoming high school graduates for success in science, technology, engineering and math majors.  More than a bridging program on college success skills, the 3-day Academy will introduce students to the City College STEM culture of success and will teach them what every freshman STEM major must know to succeed.

Participating students will:

  • Learn about the City College STEM culture of success and
    language of success
  • Be trained on the best learning strategies and develop
    necessary study skills
  • Take the StrengthsQuest assessment to learn their five
    most dominant strengths
  • Meet professors from STEM departments
  • Receive guidance from City College Counselors about
    educational planning
  • Be mentored by successful City College students in STEM majors
  • Receive career advice from local STEM professionals
  • Meet City College staff and learn about available student services
  • Learn which school supplies are needed for organizing class notes and materials
  • Make new friends and build community with 49 other STEM majors
  • Have fun!

Prospective student participants, especially underrepresented minorities and women, will be recruited from City College’s feeder high schools.  The fact that minorities remain seriously underrepresented in STEM disciplines, while they are also the most rapidly growing segment of the population, has produced a “new” American dilemma (2).  Moreover, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), while they represent 8% of all U.S. postsecondary institutions, enroll more than 50% of the over two-million Latinos enrolled in college (6).  The conditions are ideal for City College to implement this model Academy for STEM Success and take an important step towards becoming a leading community college in STEM education (1,4).  City College is a designated HSI, with 42% Latino enrollment in Spring 2012, and it has the capacity for implementing this unique Academy, based on the successful City College MESA (Math, Engineering, Science Achievement) Program and MESA culture of success.


Academy Leaders - The Usual Suspects!

Dr. Minou D. Spradley
Dean - School of Engineering & Technologies, Mathematics, Sciences and Nursing

Ph.D. in Biology - University of California Irvine

Rafael D. Alvarez
STEM Academy Coordinator & Lead Trainer
MESA Program Director

M.S. in Electrical Engineering - University of Southern California
B.S. in Engineering - Harvey Mudd College

Veronica Navallez
Counselor - STEM Academy

M.S. in Counseling - National University 

Dr. Luis Perez
Counselor - STEM Academy
Puente Program Director

Ed.D. in Educational Leadership - San Diego State University

Dissertation - Chicano Men in Community College: The Renegotiation of Identity of Ten Transfer Bound Chicano Men

In addition, special thanks to our team of STEM Academy mentors: they are the heart of the STEM Academy!  Each mentor attended the 2011 STEM Academy and has become a "star" at City College!



An evaluation of the Academy’s effectiveness and longitudinal research on the success of participating students will be completed using a mixed-methods approach, including daily surveys and focus groups.

Industry Sponsorship

This national model program is offered in partnership with industry sponsors who are committed to the development of tomorrow's mathematicians, engineers and scientists.

Contact us for more information on becoming an industry sponsor.


Eligibility & Application

Eligibility - This program is open to high school graduates who will be attending City College for the first time in Fall 2012 and meet the following requirements:

  • Students must be interested in a math, engineering or science major
  • Students must place into intermediate algebra (Math 96) or above
  • Students must commit to attending all 3 days of the STEM Academy

Before you may apply for the Academy, you will need to apply for admission to City College and obtain a City College student ID number.  

Application - The deadline for applications is Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Students who are accepted to participate in the STEM Academy will be notified on Wednesday, July 18.

Contact us for more information.


Engineering & Science Organizations

Special thanks to the following organizations for their support of and participation in the STEM Academy. Participation in these organizations is a great way for Academy participants to gain industry exposure, network with professionals, develop leadership skills in associated student chapters, receive scholarship opportunities, and explore career pathways.

Association for Women in Science - San Diego (AWIS)

National Society of Black Engineers - San Diego Alumni Extension (NSBE)

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)

Society of Women Engineers - San Diego (SWE)


Key Websites


Homework - Daily Preparation for Students

Each participating student is responsible for coming prepared to the STEM Academy each day. Here are the daily homework assignments. Complete each homework assignment and come prepared to ask questions.

Homework to be completed before Day 1 - Read and be familiar with the following materials:
Homework to be completed before Day 2 - Read and be familiar with the following materials:
Homework to be completed before Day 3 - Read and be familiar with the following materials:

School Supplies

STEM Academy participants will need the following supplies for their classes:

1" Binder with EZ-Turn Ring
Number required: 1 for each class

Notice that these binders have the ring-bar attached to the back-side. This makes it easy to open the binder, and it reduces the wear-and-tear on your papers. Students must have a different binder for each of their classes.

3-Hole 5-Tab Dividers
Number required: 1 set for each class binder plus 1 set for each 3-prong folder (see below)

The dividers will be very important for organizing the following class materials:
> BPR (Bullet Point Reading)
> Lecture Notes
> Homework
> Quizzes
> Handouts

3-Prong Folders
Number required: 1 or more for each class depending on the number of tests

These folders will be very important for organizing class notes, materials and tests. Using different folder colors for different classes is also helpul. Example: Red for Math, Green for Chemistry, etc.


More than a tool, the Smartpen is a true "weapon" for learning. The Smartpen records everything you write and hear so you'll never miss a word. Then you can reply your lectures. The Smartpen writes on digital paper, and you can upload your notes to your computer and internet. Smartpens come with 2, 4 or 8 GB of memory. Search Google for availability and prices. The pen is also available in the City College Bookstore.



  1. Dowd, A.C., Malcom, L.E. & Macias, E.E. (2010). Improving Transfer Access to STEM, Bachelor’s Degrees at Hispanic Serving Institutions through the America COMPETES Act.  Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California.

  2. Frehill, L., DiFabio, N. & Hill, S. (2008). Confronting the "New" American Dilemma - Underrepresented Minorities in Engineering: A Data-Based Look at Diversity.  National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering.

  3. Henderson, P., Psalmonds, E. & Bissell, R. (2010). Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America's Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads.  Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

  4. Hoffman, E., Starobin, S.S., Santos Laanan, F. & Rivera, M. (2010). Role of Community Colleges in STEM Education: Thoughts on Implications for Policy, Practice and Future Research.  Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, Volume 16/Issue 1.  DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v16.i1

  5. Hurtado, S., Chang, M., Eagan, K. & Gasiewski, J. (2010). Degrees of Success: Bachelor’s Degree Completion Rates among Initial STEM Majors.  Los Angeles, CA: University of California, Los Angeles.

  6. Malcom, L.E., Bensimon, E.M. & Dávila, B. (2010). (Re)Constructing Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Moving Beyond Numbers Toward Student Success.  Ames, IA: Iowa State University