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Stephanie Couch, Cal State East Bay’s STEM Institute Leader, Heads to MIT


Stephanie Couch

  • May 24, 2016

Stephanie Couch, who has spearheaded Cal State East Bay’s Institute for STEM Education since 2011, has accepted a new position as executive director of the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Couch will be leaving CSUEB at the end of June. 

As Lemelson-MIT Program’s executive director, Couch will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for the execution of the program, which celebrates outstanding inventors and inspires young people to pursue creative lives and careers through invention.

Jerome H. Lemelson, one of the most prolific inventors in American history, and his wife Dorothy founded the Lemelson-MIT Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994.

It is funded by the Lemelson Foundation and administered by the School of Engineering at MIT, an institution with an ongoing commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for K-12 STEM education.

"The great opportunities I've had to make a difference in the lives of students and others in the East Bay, and the wonderful partners I've had the joy of working with on campus and in the community make it very difficult to leave Cal State East Bay,” Couch said. “I am hopeful that my new work at Lemelson-MIT Program related to recognizing mid-career inventors who are making a significant difference in the world and supporting the growth and development of the next generation of inventors will provide opportunities to reconnect with what will always be my East Bay family."

For nearly five years, Couch has been leading CSUEB’s Institute for STEM Education, which focuses on new approaches to STEM teaching and learning; preparation of future math and science teachers; support for educators in the field; and student support systems that interest, engage, prepare and retain students in STEM college and career pathways.

Couch, who is also the director of the Gateways East Bay STEM Network, has received considerable recognition for her work in the separate yet complementary roles, which have enabled her to connect the innovations developed at CSUEB and by others in the region to Gateways partners.

"Dr. Stephanie Couch has been an outstanding and effective leader in the area of STEM education, working tirelessly to raise the visibility of Cal State East Bay in this critical field," said Dr. Leroy Morishita, president of CSUEB. "Through her leadership of the Institute for STEM Education and as Interim Associate Vice President of Research and Professional Development, she has championed collaborations across all sectors in support of STEM initiatives and enhanced and improved our research presence. I want to thank Stephanie for her excellent work and lasting contributions to establish our university as a center of regional excellence in STEM education."

Couch was recently recognized as one of the 2016 San Francisco Business Times’ Influential Women for her achievements in developing STEM programs and inducted into Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame in the education category. In 2015, she won the Biotechnology Educator Award from the California Life Sciences Association.   

“Dr. Stephanie Couch has been an invaluable resource to Cal State East Bay and the entire region,” Interim Provost Dr. Carolyn Nelson said. “Her hard work and dedication to STEM has laid the important groundwork to allow countless individuals to pursue their dreams in this area of study. We are grateful for her time at CSUEB and for the strong foundation upon which she has built our STEM institute. We wish her the best going forward and are excited to see what she will accomplish.”

Couch said she is grateful for her time at Cal State East Bay and the support she’s received here and from the community.

“From day one on the job I've been struck by the willingness to partner, collaborate and try new approaches to educating and supporting student success,” Couch said. “This, combined with the incredible support received from our community partners (public sector, private sector and non-profits), has enabled the Institute to try new, creative approaches to addressing STEM needs.”

Prior to her appointment at Cal State East Bay, Couch helped to conceptualize, design and launch the Statewide California STEM Learning Network.

She received her B.A. in political science from the University of California, Davis, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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