Student Voices - School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering, California State University-Bakersfield

The purpose of the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering (NSME) is to increase the number of students earning a STEM degree, with a specific focus on increasing the number of under-represented minority, and particularly Latino, students.

  • Over the past 6 years, NSME has worked to improve Latino STEM enrollment, growing the program from 670 students in 2006 to 1039 students currently, of which 420, or 40% are Latino. This is a 55% increase in overall enrollment, and an 88% increase in Latino enrollment, specifically.
  • Much of this increase is due to transfer and articulation efforts with Bakersfield College. In 2006, only 22% of all transfer students enrolling in STEM were Latino - by 2011, 50% were Latino.
  • Recent data available shows that first-time freshmen Latino students declaring a STEM major has increased 6%, from 14% in 2006 to 20% in 2009. This increase in Latino STEM majors outpaces the overall university rate, with a higher percentage of Latino students currently declaring STEM majors than all other students (20% and 19%, respectively).
  • Student support services are integrated into the fully-scaffolded STEM degree pathways and new academic programs NSME has developed, including new engineering programs.
  • The first-year retention rate for Latino STEM students grew from 72% in 2006 to 78% today, exceeding the first year retention rate for all STEM students (70%).
  • 2010 data shows the 6-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time Latinos was 41% compared to their White counterparts at 38.5%. Latinos also outpaced all other ethnicities in the 5-year graduation rate in STEM.