STEM program AIMS for student success

STEM students at Pierce now can get hands-on research experience and make some extra money while pursuing their interests in both the computer engineering and science fields. 

California State University, Northridge offers paid summer research programs called Attract, Inspire, Mentor, Support Students (AIMS2), to qualified undergraduate students who are interested in engineering or computer science. The program provides access to all the tools that the CSUN engineering department has to offer, including theoretical research and machine work. 

Pierce had more students participating than any of the other community colleges partnering with CSUN. 

Project Coordinator Elizabeth Cheung explains that she would encourage anyone who is interested in STEM fields to participate in this program.

“It’s one thing that has been shown to be really effective in improving student success because they get to see how what they’re learning applies to the real world,” Cheung said. 

Engineering student Anthony De Leon talks about how the program provided a different learning experience than the engineering classes he had taken at Pierce. 

“The main reason that I wanted to do this program was because I had never really had experience in any type of engineering, because I had only had classes where I had learned about the theories behind engineering, so I had never actually seen it in practice,” De Leon said. “It was also paid research, so I was able to gain experience and make a little money on the side.”

Engineering student Sherlyn Villasis said this program provided her with an opportunity to discover a new career path. 

“The program definitely helped me to learn a lot because the projects that we did, I didn’t know how to start before,” Villasis said. “When we did it though, after the research, we are exposed to the matter and the actual subject now.”

De Leon explains how after the research and projects are completed, the students present their work at CSUN. 

“It was really good because we got to present everything we had done throughout the entire summer to other researchers who were there doing their own projects in the summer as well,” De Leon said. “You also get to present in front of CSUN faculty and your family members.”

Students go through an interview process before being accepted into the program. They then are able to choose what projects they would like to do research on and work with the instructors at CSUN to help them get started.