Lately, Dr. Julio Blanco, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering, has had an extra line to his introduction: “… and recent Beautiful Bakersfield Award recipient.”
The Beautiful Bakersfield Awards is an annual event hosted by the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce in which Crystal Camellias are given to local individuals, groups and businesses who “helped to improve the image and quality of life in our community during 2010,” according to the chamber’s website.
Dean Blanco was nominated in the Education category for his instrumental role in securing a grant to fund CSUB’s first engineering program. Thanks to his efforts, the new computer engineering major will be offered at CSUB starting this fall.
“I am pleased to receive this award in the name of California State University, Bakersfield, and in particular, all the faculty and staff in the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering that have made it all possible,” Blanco told the audience. “Under the leadership of President Mitchell, CSUB is working with our community partners and the community colleges and high schools to establish new opportunities for all the students in Kern County.”
CSUB works hard within local industry segments and often asks the question, “What can we do here at CSUB that supports your particular industry?” The primary area for which the university has found a great need is engineering. CSUB is excited to be able to help fulfill this need.
The program is being funded by a $3.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which was awarded to CSUB because it is considered a Hispanic Serving Institution. CSUB is committed to increasing the number of underrepresented students in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). This grant will expand and enhance its efforts to do so.
The program supports more than just CSUB students, too. A strong partnership is already in the works with Bakersfield College to open the pipeline for educating more local students interested in STEM fields as well. Ultimately, this benefits the whole community and raises the quality of education and the quality of life here in Bakersfield.
“Receiving the award confirms for me that the community endorses CSUB’s academic expansion as we add engineering programs to prepare local students for local jobs,” Blanco said after the event. “The faculty and staff are excited about this new opportunity and welcome the participation of the community.”
Congratulations to Dean Blanco for making Bakersfield more beautiful!