Amgen building and Jason DeVoss

[Donor Spotlight] Empowering Future Science Teachers: Amgen Ups Support of Cal State East Bay's HOST Labs

  • BY Josh Russell
  • October 31, 2023

As the philanthropic arm of Amgen, the Amgen Foundation works to make a difference in people's lives by inspiring the next generation of scientists and investing in the communities where Amgen employees live and work. The Foundation does this by delivering best-in-class science education programs — free of cost — to teachers and students all over the world and by making many grants each year to help local nonprofit organizations in Amgen communities thrive. In addition, staff engagement programs are designed to increase the impact of Amgen employees’ own donations of cash, time and talent.

This local support has included nonprofit organizations such as the Marin Food Bank and Mission Science Workshop as well as collaboration with higher education institutions such as UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Stanford and Cal State East Bay. At Cal State East Bay, Amgen supports CSUEB's innovative and impactful Hands-on Science Teaching (HOST) Labs.

Jason DeVoss, Executive Director and Site Head at Amgen San Francisco, spoke about Amgen’s focus on supporting the local community. “We provide hyper-local support around the Bay Area, including Marin, The East Bay, San Francisco and the Peninsula (from San Mateo County through San Jose), with a targeted focus on STEM education and community support.”

“STEM is vital to our mission in the long term. Being able to have an impact in the Bay Area means a lot to our staff,” said DeVoss. The Hands-On Science Teaching Labs are designed to give undergraduate students direct experience teaching science by acting as "Science Guides" to visiting elementary and middle school students. Structured as a 1-unit course, Cal State East Bay students are given the opportunity to relearn fundamental science concepts, followed by the facilitation of hands-on demonstrations with school-age students from around the Bay Area in a full lab setting.

Foundational science concepts are demonstrated in fun, engaging activities that promote students’ scientific thinking around inquiry-based lesson plans. HOST Labs supplies local elementary and middle school students with supplementary science education while also providing Cal State East Bay Science Guides the opportunity to explore teaching as a possible career path.

Amgen has supported Cal State East Bay for several years via the Amgen Foundation and according to DeVoss, increased their support this year. “We upped our support this year because Cal State East Bay’s HOST Labs fits right in with the types of things we like to promote, namely STEM education. The program helps both students and teachers who are helping the youth in our community. Also, it’s important for teachers to have access to new science so they have the latest knowledge to continue motivating students to get excited about STEM.” 

DeVoss added, “What is most exciting about this is the hands-on thinking approach from Cal State East Bay. This is exactly what students need. This lays the groundwork for any student thinking about a future career in science. This is perfect!”

Jason Singley, dean of the College of Sciences at Cal State East Bay, said, “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Amgen and are especially grateful for their increased support. It is inspiring to work with companies who just get it. Amgen knows the value of local engagement, and we are excited that they see the value and impact of a hands-on, innovative program like our Hands-on Science Teaching Labs.

To learn more about the Hands-On Science Teaching Labs, visit: