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STEM Career Awareness Day for East Bay high school students highlights innovation and opportunity


U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California's 9th district (Oakland area), seen here with CSUEB President Leroy M. Morishita, will address high school students at STEM Career Awareness Day.

  • May 10, 2012

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) joined Cal State East Bay, Bayer HealthCare, and Wareham Development in welcoming nearly 100 local high school students and teachers for an up-close look at East Bay science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers at the inaugural STEM Career Awareness Day on May 14.

STEM Career Awareness Day, organized by the newly formed Institute for STEM Education at California State University, East Bay, is also an outgrowth of Rep. Lee’s Biotech Advisory Task Force. It will be hosted at Bayer HealthCare’s Berkeley manufacturing site in collaboration with Wareham Development.

The day was devoted to showing local students the array of local career options available to them in the sciences. Rep. Lee’s address opened the event, and students traveled to nearby companies to engage in hands-on demonstrations and conversations with working scientists. Participating companies represent a variety of industries in the East Bay’s “innovation corridor,” including leaders in biotech, sustainability engineering, alternative fuels and games.

“The San Francisco Bay Area teems with STEM talent,” said Rich Robbins of Wareham Development. “In the biosciences alone, about 120,000 people work here creating the science and technology innovation so necessary for America’s continued economic prosperity and health. And yet California is 49th in the nation in science achievement,” he explained.

“We have to step up and change this, and that’s what STEM Career Day is all about,” he concluded.

Students and teachers attended from Berkeley High School, Emery High School, and Oakland Technical High School. Participating companies in addition to Bayer HealthCare included CalTrans; Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center; the Joint Bio-Energy Institute; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Life Sciences Division; Tethys Bioscience; Stupid Fun Club; and Swerve.

“Last year, the Bayer USA Foundation and Wareham Development came together to launch CSUEB’s groundbreaking STEM Institute with the mission of enhancing and helping to coordinate existing STEM education activities,” said Leroy M. Morishita, president of Cal State East Bay.

“An important part of the mission was to engage the business sector more actively in providing quality education for students throughout the region. STEM Career Day is an important first step in bringing students — and their high school teachers — together to explore the careers that may lie in their future right here in their backyards. It is designed to give them an opportunity to talk to real scientists and engage in the kind of hands-on lessons that have the potential to change their lives,” Morishita added.

The event builds on Bayer’s experiences over the past 20 years producing an annual Career Awareness Day for Biotech Partners, an award-winning workforce development program that Bayer began in 1992 in partnership with the City of Berkeley.

Stephanie Couch, the Bayer Executive Director of CSUEB’s STEM Institute, said that an important component of the Institute’s mission is finding ways to expand on the success of Biotech Partners and similar programs that combine work experience and academics to encourage more students, particularly minorities and women, to consider science careers.

“The institute was conceived as a new kind of effort to bring all the relevant forces together to meet our region’s urgent needs for better science education,” said Couch. “For the first time, we’re working across departments and bringing industry leaders in as active partners to recruit and train science teachers, to develop new curricula and delivery models, and to scale up demonstrably successful programs that inspire students to prepare for careers in the exciting array of scientific fields that make their home in the Bay Area.”

Couch said the university is pleased to be developing partnerships with key players in the region — the Green Corridor high schools, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the BayBio Institute’s Bio-Ed Community, UC Berkeley, Biotech Partners, the Gateways East Bay STEM Network and the companies opening their labs for the students attending.

“This is a first step and we’re excited about what is to come,” she said.

About California State University, East Bay

California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 13,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

About Bayer Corporation

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. The company’s products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time Bayer creates value through innovation, growth and high earning power. The Corporation is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its role as a socially and ethically responsible corporate citizen. Economy, ecology and social responsibility are corporate policy objectives of equal rank.  In North America, Bayer had 2009 net sales of approximately 7.7 billion euros (about $10.7 billion) and employed 16,300 at year end. For more information, go to

About Wareham Development

Around the world, the San Francisco Bay region is renowned for its beauty, innovation, and diversity. Since 1977, Wareham Development has helped to shape that image with real estate development and property management that is as unique as the region we serve. Wareham’s philosophy is to ensure the health of our assets – physically, aesthetically and financially – through a balanced approach with an eye to our children’s children. Our commercial developments mirror the driving forces behind the economic growth of the Bay Area, with space for life sciences, high technology, industrial and retail tenants. Our residential properties include everything from urban live-work spaces for creative professionals to upscale homes in prestigious mountain communities. Today, our real estate portfolio encompasses more than 4.5 million square feet of space located in multi-tenant, mixed-use campuses. Award-winning architecture, spectacular landscaping, tenant-friendly amenities, and superb property management are hallmarks of Wareham projects. We are committed to the long-term economic and environmental vitality of the communities where we do business. And, unlike many developers who build projects only to sell them, we retain ownership of the majority of our developments, many of which have come to define the thriving technology innovation corridor of the San Francisco East Shore.

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