My LA2050

Grants Challenge

$1,000,000 to make LA the best place to learn, create, play, connect, and live.


STEM Center for Innovation and Excellence (SCIE)

University of Southern California (Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs Office)

STEM Center for Innovation and Excellence (SCIE)


Living Advantage

About Your Proposal

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.

STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) serves educationally disadvantaged students with the goal to increase the number of students who have authentic experiences in STEM and major in STEM

In one to three sentences, please describe your project proposal.

STEM Center for Innovation and Excellence (SCIE) is a program that engages at-risk high school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by having them create apps and technology based products that improve their community and/or create entrepreneurial opportunities. Students work in teams to create prototypes of apps and products in a local maker space/starter garage setting at their school.

How much are you applying for?


How will your proposal impact the following LEARN metrics?

  • College matriculation rates
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • Youth unemployment and underemployment

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA, South LA, LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to LEARN?

The goal of SCIE is to engage disadvantaged, and underrepresented Los Angeles area high school students in STEM and entrepreneurial opportunities. The objectives are: 1.Generate student interest in STEM through hands-on and minds-on activities, 2. Introduce students to entrepreneurship, 3. Add real-world context to academic coursework, 4. Develop students’ critical thinking and problem skills, 5. Inspire, mentor and guide students towards business ownership and careers in STEM

The lure of STEM has been the excitement generated by projects, experiments and activities as well as the potential for high income earning jobs and careers. The Common Core and Next Generation Science standards attempt to integrate STEM into everyday curriculum. However, simply changing standards in isolation cannot overcome the inertia of public educational institutions. Data has shown that participation in engineering curricula is dependent on interest, aptitude and prior success in mathematics and science courses. Thus, underrepresented and disadvantaged minority students who have not had the opportunity to develop interest or experience success in math and science may be excluded from participation.

In the study, “Pipeline Persistence: Examining the Association of Educational Experiences With Earned Degrees in STEM Among U.S. Students”, Maltese and Tai (2009) indicate that the majority of students who concentrate in STEM make that choice during high school, and that choice is related to a growing interest in mathematics and science rather than enrollment or achievement. According to the NACME White Paper Increasing the Achievement and Presence of Under-Represented Minorities in STEM Fields (2013), “Strengthening the educational pipeline for minorities in STEM fields will have a huge impact on their motivation to study and work in those fields”.

Based on these studies, there is a benefit to minority and educationally disadvantaged students and to the Los Angeles community for programs that spark, nurture, encourage and support students’ interest, aptitude and efforts to pursue careers in STEM. To that end, SCIE provides instruction, support and guidance to students from a STEM and business perspective that also increases student academic and social self-efficacy and skills. SCIE helps students to gain real-world experience and develop relationships with engineering students and professionals.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

The evaluation of the project will be based on achieving metrics that determine if the program objectives are met.

Objective 1: Generate student interest in STEM through hands-on and minds-on activities

Metric: 90% of students participate and attend 90% of the workshops and activities

Measurement tool: Sign in sheets

Objective 2: Introduce students to entrepreneurship

Metric: 100% of student groups create a prototype of a commercial project

Measurement tool: Demonstration and presentation of prototype

Objective 3: Develop students’ critical thinking and problem skills by adding real-world context to academic coursework

Metric: Students will demonstrate problem solving and critical think skills in developing products and business plans

Measurement tools: Student journals and project notebooks

Objective 4: Inspire, mentor and guide students towards business ownership and careers in STEM

Metric: Students will show an interest in STEM careers and entrepreneurship

Measurement tools: Student Surveys and surveys of participating USC faculty, staff, graduate students , undergraduate students and community partners.

Objective 5: Improve student grades and attendance

Metric: Students attendance and grades will improve over last year’s reporting period

Measurement tools: School records

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Education/training
  • Community outreach