School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering (NSME)

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Issue Area
Key Personnel
Program Focus


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.

Program Description

The School of NSME is dedicated to providing an outstanding educational experience and committed to offering excellent degree programs that advance the intellectual and personal development of its 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).

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.