Community college in Calif. to train future STEM professionals | Global News

Community college in Calif. to train future STEM professionals

/ 01:00 AM April 09, 2016




SAN BRUNO, California — Community college students across the country who could become the next world-changing professionals in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) lack one component to success – resources.

In response to this need, Skyline College in San Bruno launched a partnership with the nonprofit Base 11 to bring students the tools and the training to become the next great STEM entrepreneur.


Skyline officials announced their plans at the opening of the campus’s new Base 11 Innovation Center, which features a Fab Lab – short for fabrication laboratory – developed by MIT researchers.

It will be one of about 110 Fab Labs in the country, and the first on a California community college campus. The expert design, installation and operational training for the lab is led by Blair Evans, director of Incite Focus, an MIT alumnus and certified Fab Academy guru.

Within the Fab Lab, tools like 3D printers and laser cutters enable students to design and produce almost anything they can imagine.

To speed up innovation within the lab, Base 11 is also rolling out a 16-week entrepreneurial course at Skyline College designed to help students turn their classroom learning into new product ideas. They are then taught how to create prototypes in the Fab Lab, develop a business plan, and pitch their product. The course will culminate in a pitch contest, with the top pitches advancing to Base 11’s national competition.

“Base 11 has brought a tremendous array of resources to Skyline College that most community college students would never have access to,” said Regina Stanback Stroud, Ed.D., president of Skyline College.  “By bringing Ivy League-quality resources to our campus, we are leveling the playing field for students.”

Base 11’s partnership with Skyline College represents a new “Entrepreneur Accelerator” model, which Base 11’s leaders plan to replicate at other community colleges across the country.

Base 11 focuses on high-potential students who possess limited resources, and aims to provide them with the tools and support necessary to develop as STEM entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs.”


The end-goal is to catapult them into higher-paying jobs, acceptance and scholarship opportunities at top-tier universities, and direct access to the funding and mentorship needed to launch the business ventures they create while in the program.

This “Entrepreneur Accelerator” expands upon the successful Base 11 internship program, which awards the highest performing Skyline College students with paid summer residency internships at Caltech, University of Southern California, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and the University of California, Irvine.

“We’re giving these students an opportunity with top-tier universities and corporations to ignite the innovation that our country so desperately needs,” said Landon Taylor, CEO of Base 11. “We absolutely believe the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs may emerge from this Innovation Center at Skyline College.”

Base 11 aims to propel 11,000 students nationwide into its “Victory Circle” by 2020, and hopes 1,000 of those will come from Bay Area schools.  Students qualify for the “Victory Circle” when they are:

  • Admitted to a four-year university to pursue a STEM-related degree,
  • Employed in a well-paid STEM job, or
  • Become a STEM entrepreneur.

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TAGS: Base 11, Blair Evans, Caltech, director of Incite Focus, engineering or math (STEM), Fab Academyscience, Fab Labs, Skyline College, STEM training at community college, Technology, the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, University of California Irvine, University of Southern California
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