News @ the Beach

Cal State Long Beach Receives $130,000 Award to Fund Student Research

Talented Cal State Long Beach students studying in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will be able to engage in independent undergraduate research opportunities thanks to a $130,000 award from the  Beckman Scholars Program. Undergraduate research has been identified as one of the high-impact practices that leads to improved student outcomes and the grant will support five Beckman Scholar Awards over a three-year period beginning in the summer of 2015.


Arnold Beckman

“This kind of support from wonderful partners like the Beckman Scholars Program is transformative for our students,” said Andrea Taylor, vice president of university relations and development. “It will offer unequaled access to mentored undergraduate research experiences for our most talented students. They will interact with talented faculty to hone their skills of discovery and learn how to be scientists.”

Each year, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation selects a number of research, doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate universities and colleges to be invited to submit applications for the Beckman Scholars Program. CSULB is one of only 12 institutions in the nation awarded a grant.  The program provides exceptionally talented students with a meaningful undergraduate research opportunity while funding the scholars during their award term to eliminate the need for them to seek additional employment. Beckman Scholars will pursue an independent research project under the guidance of an approved mentor and are required to perform research activities part-time during one academic year and full-time over two summers. Scholars must be full-time students and maintain a 3.5 GPA. Each student named as a Beckman Scholar will receive $26,000 with $21,000 specifically for the scholar and $5,000 for the scholar’s mentor.

CSULB has received four prior Beckman Scholar Program awards in 2000-02, 2003-04, 2006-09 and 2009-12 that supported 19 scholars.

The gift is part of the $225 million Declare Campaign for California State University, Long Beach. This is the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the university and one of the largest in the California State University system. It also represents a cultural shift that encourages all students, faculty, staff and community members to pro-actively participate in achieving the university’s mission: to provide highly-valued educational opportunities through superior teaching, research, creative activity and service.

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CSULB’s Carpenter Center to Host Inaugural President’s Gala

Carpenter Center-3

The Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center

Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley will host the first-ever President’s Gala on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the university’s Carpenter Performing Arts Center. CSULB salutes the Carpenter Center’s role in helping fulfill the university’s mission of championing creativity and providing creative activity to the campus and the greater Long Beach community. The theater’s world-class performances and community programs help extend the performing arts to an ever-expanding sphere of residents and students.

“The Carpenter Center is renowned as a cultural gateway for the entire Long Beach community and I can’t imagine a better venue for the first-ever President’s Gala,” said President Conoley. “Our university is fortunate to have this amazing performing arts center on our campus. The arts are fundamental to providing a well-rounded educational experience at The Beach, and I’m especially pleased the Gala will support the vibrant Arts for Life program.”

Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Carpenter Center’s Arts for Life program. Arts for Life is a comprehensive education initiative that provides free, interactive and hands-on arts activities for residents of all ages. The programs consist of Classroom Connections (enriching elementary schools), Campus Connections (linking artists and CSULB students) and Community Connections (sharing arts experiences with citizens of all ages). Arts for Life is made possible through the generosity of foundations and donors.

A limited number of VIP tickets will provide a private pre-show dinner on the Carpenter Family Terrace with President Conoley, exclusive access to a post-show reception with the artist and the best seats in the house. In the inaugural gala, Emmy and Golden Globe award winner Jane Lynch will provide the evening’s entertainment with her musical comedy performance “See Jane Sing.”

From her breakout performance in the mockumentary “Best of Show” to her Emmy award-winning role as tough-as-nails coach Sue Sylvester on the hit TV series “Glee,” Jane Lynch will demonstrate her love of the beauty and absurdity of the American standard and show tune in her musical comedy performance “See Jane Sing.” Fresh from her Broadway debut as Miss Hannigan in “Annie,” Jane will bring with her the Jane Lynch Quintet, led by trumpet player Tony Guerrero.


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Long Beach College Promise Partners Awarded Top Calif. Prize for Innovation in Higher Education

Gov. Jerry Brown Awards $5M Prize for Innovative Leadership

The Long Beach College Promise has earned a $5 million prize as part of California Governor Jerry Brown’s Awards for Innovation in Higher Education. The Award recognizes innovations in higher education that smooth academic transition points for students moving from elementary and secondary education to post-secondary institutions. It also rewards colleges and universities that have measurably improved the ability of students to achieve a bachelor’s degree over a four-year period. The Long Beach College Promise achieved the highest score among the state’s 58 applicants.


At a recent Long Beach College Promise signing were (l-r) Christopher J. Steinhauser, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Jane Close Conoley and Robert Garcia.

“We’re excited to receive this significant funding and the recognition that comes with it,” said Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser of the Long Beach Unified School District. “The Long Beach College Promise truly is an innovative, collaborative effort that is getting great results for students. We look forward to using these needed resources to further our important work.”

The Long Beach College Promise began in 2008 as collaboration between the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and California State University, Long Beach to increase the success of local students in higher education. The City of Long Beach joined the partnership last year, with a focus on early education and internships.

“We are delighted that Governor Brown has recognized how the strength of this partnership, across different institutions, is leading to greater success among our students as they complete their higher education goals,” said Long Beach City College President Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “As we expand the vision of the Long Beach College Promise to meet President Obama’s challenge in his proposal for America’s College Promise, this prize will help us get to the next level.”

As part of the College Promise every Long Beach Unified School District student is required to visit both Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach during their fourth and fifth grade years. Upon graduation of high school, students are guaranteed a free semester at Long Beach City College and CSULB guarantees admission to all Promise students who complete college admission requirements.

“I want to thank Governor Brown for his vision in creating the Innovation Award,” said California State University, Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley. “If widely replicated, the College Promise has the potential to create a sea change in the way California delivers education to millions of students. Through the Promise, the needs of students take precedence over institutional silos and this seamless approach results in significant benefits for students and families. We estimate that by reducing time to degree a single semester, our students could defray about $10,000 in college related costs. This is a win-win for our region, and as we scale-up these practices, it will be a win-win for the state and nation.”

Since the inception of the Long Beach College Promise:
•  More than 58,940 LBUSD middle school students have completed a College Promise education plan and signed a pledge to prepare for college.
•  More than 33,500 LBUSD fourth graders have visited LBCC and 35,200 LBUSD fifth graders have visited CSULB.
•  The number of LBUSD students successfully completing transfer level math and English at LBCC have increased by 300% and 260%, respectively.
•  More than 9,800 students have taken advantage of the free semester at LBCC.
•  LBCC’s alternative assessment model has saved students from having to take remedial courses that would have required an additional 1,200 semesters to complete, at a cost of $498,732. By reducing remediation even further during the senior year of high school, these savings could easily triple within two years.
•  The number of LBUSD graduates enrolling in CSULB has increased by 43% and students are arriving better prepared to succeed.
•  The partnership predicts it can reduce time to degree for one-quarter of transfers from LBCC by one semester. These changes would affect nearly 600 students per year, bringing financial benefits to currently enrolled students and their families, and would expand access for prospective students at no additional cost to the state.
•  Since the cost of attendance at CSULB is estimated at $20,000 per year (tuition, fees, living expenses) students who reduce time to degree by one semester would save about $10,000 each in avoided costs of attendance.

“I’ve made education my top priority as mayor, and I am honored and proud that Long Beach has received this recognition and these additional resources,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “This is further evidence that the Long Beach College Promise is an outstanding, effective program, and it’s also a great opportunity to expand and enhance the support we provide to our students.”

Long Beach’s award is part of a $50-million fund designated in the 2014-15 State Budget. All of California’s community colleges, CSU and UC campuses were eligible to apply and compete for the prize.

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Keck Foundation Awards CSULB $500,000 to Fund New Undergraduate Research Opportunities

A $500,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will fund new avenues for undergraduate research in the rapidly expanding field of energy materials, Cal State Long Beach  announced.  The funding will create a new interdisciplinary education program, the Keck Energy Materials Research Program (KEMP), with new curriculum as well as allow for the expansion of state-of-the-art instrumentation to complement equipment on the campus.  Undergraduate research has been identified as a high-impact practice that bolsters student achievement.

Keck logo final 2006

“Discovery and characterization of novel energy related materials are critical to meeting future energy and technology needs of society, so it’s a very hot research area,” said Young-Seok Shon, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CSULB, who also serves as the lead on the grant. “Nanostructured materials are generating great excitement both in fundamental science and in the prospects of developing new and innovative technological applications for the benefit of society.”

Shon anticipates that KEMP will have annual cohorts of 10-15 students who will be supported by multiple faculty mentors.  Three new courses will be developed through KEMP—a team-taught materials science lecture course, a materials science laboratory course and a colloquium for materials research.  These courses will be coupled with existing chemistry and physics courses that add to the foundation in materials science, alongside intensive training in faculty research laboratories.  Altogether, the new program offers CSULB students a remarkable educational and training option that will prepare them for graduate studies and careers in one of the most important areas of technological advancement in the global economy.

The new instrumentation will be critical for delivering cutting-edge energy-related materials research and engaging students in collaborative interdisciplinary research with faculty, as well as supporting the development of future interdisciplinary courses essential for launching a new materials science degree option.

Selected students will also receive summer research stipends. In addition, the grant will be used to support symposium speakers drawn from nationally recognized materials science research programs and student travel to present research at national conferences.

Integral to each student’s laboratory experience will be learning how to operate sophisticated scientific instruments—not commonly found at undergraduate institutions—to carry out the research. In fact, KEMP students will participate in all aspects of the research, from the development of hypotheses and specific research plans, to hands-on research, data analysis and interpretation, and professional dissemination.

Once they have conducted the research, students will learn how to present their findings. Each student will be mentored by faculty members with distinct yet complementary expertise–something very unique in the California State University system.

Working closely with Shon will be four faculty members—associate professor Xianhui Bu and assistant professor Shahab Derakhshan from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and associate professor Thomas Gredig and assistant professor Michael Peterson from the Department of Physics and Astronomy—who will collaborate in building a coordinated materials research and education program on campus.


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