Community College STEM Pathways – KickStarter

Home / Community College STEM Pathways – KickStarter

Kickstarter Program for Community College Hispanic Serving Institutions

Improving recruitment and retention of Hispanic students at Community College Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in STEM-related fields by enhancing their participation in NSF-funded initiatives

Program Results

View Results and Impacts of the KickStarter Program.

Application Deadline

Email Interest to Participate:
November 2, 2018

Full Application Due Date:
December 21, 2018; 6pm MST

The Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) Center for STEM at Arizona State University (ASU) issued this Call for Applications to Community College HSIs within the United States to participate in an intensive, comprehensive technical assistance program to prepare and position them to compete successfully for federal funds focused on student recruitment and retention in STEM fields.

Call for Applications

downloadIconDownload the Call for Applications

downloadIconView the Webinar Video

downloadIconDownload the Webinar Slides

Who Can Apply?

  1. Applicants must be designated (with at least 25% Hispanic student enrollment) Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) within the United States.
  2. The HSI must be a 2-yr institution or Community College.
  3. It is strongly preferred that Applicants have active or recent (within last 5 years) Title V (or Title III HSI STEM) funding that pertains to: (a) recruiting and retaining students in STEM, (b) updating and streamlining STEM courses and degree/certification attainment and/or (c) expanding federal funding competitiveness.  Newly designated HSIs (within the past 12 months) or other HSIs without a Title V (or Title III) grant, must show they have sought a Federal Grant in the five years preceding the KickStarter application deadline, have foundational infrastructure that supports STEM related programs already underway, and have the ability to pursue federal grant funding in support of STEM educational research.
  4. Eligible institutions are those that have never had NSF funding, or that have not had NSF funding in the five years preceding the KickStarter application deadline.  It is permitted to have a sub-award under another institution of higher learning that is the lead organization for an NSF award.
  5. Institutions are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply if they are, or have been, the lead institution of an NSF grant within the past 5 years preceding the KickStarter application deadline




The KickStarter Program, led by the SFAz STEM Center at ASU, is a technical assistance program that prepares and positions Community College HSIs to compete successfully for federal funds with focus on student recruitment and retention in STEM fields.  The KickStarter (KS) Process provides HSIs with a blueprint to build and sustain a strong STEM foundation, augmented with innovations in STEM education to enable Hispanic STEM student success.  This process begins immediately with this KickStarter application that includes NSF principles to guide and support applicants on their paths to developing sustainable approaches grounded in STEM plans aligned to the college strategy.  For STEM planning the program uses the STEMxTM nationally endorsed STEM Pathways Model and Guide (refer to STEM Pathways Guide) to assist community colleges in assessing their STEM capabilities, developing strategies that take into account these capabilities, and increasing recruitment and retention of students in STEM career and transfer pathway programs.  Proposals to NSF that are built upon college-wide STEM plans designed to improve student recruitment and retention are more likely to show greater potential for sustainability, suggesting a wiser investment of NSF funding, and therefore are more likely to be competitive and funded.  Assistance is provided for developing these proposals to NSF.  This program is made possible with support from National Science Foundation (NSF).  Please refer to Award Abstract #1450661

Program Goal

To improve the federal funding participation and competitiveness of participating institutions in NSF-funded STEM initiatives by providing a wide range of technical assistance services.

Program Objectives

To address the needs of each participating institution in a customized fashion, involving administration, faculty and staff, and community partners: feeder schools, regional universities, workforce employers, researchers, and other investigators who have been previously funded in similar studies.  The SFAz STEM Center’s Technical Assistance Team will assist the institution to utilize the STEM Pathways Model and Resource Guide to develop their pathways strategies, identify areas in their pathways plan that need attention, and prioritize the programs that are most ready for funding. The Technical Assistance Team will assist the institution in developing proposals to federal agencies whose funding objectives can be met by these programs. Proposal requests for funding to support the priorities of a strategic STEM Pathways plan will demonstrate a quality investment for the funder and compete more favorably with the review panels.

  • Objective 1:  Increase the number of Community College HSIs who compete successfully as lead grantees on NSF projects

An External Review Panel will evaluate KickStarter applications and select the institutions to participate with the SFAz Technical Assistance Team based on the extent to which they meet the selection criteria of readiness.  Selected institutions agree to work through the KickStarter process, including STEM assessment and planning, concept development, and guided proposal preparation to produce a competitive NSF proposal(s) from different faculty members/ departments.

  • Objective 2:  Strengthen the institution’s STEM infrastructure (i.e., their capacity to increase recruitment and retention success rates among Latino students)

Many organizations that fail to receive or effectively implement federal funded projects do so because they have not built an internal infrastructure (i.e., capacity) to plan and/or carryout the proposed project. Through the formation of a STEM Planning Team, colleges will be guided by the SFAz STEM Center Technical Assistance Team to engage in activities such as:  STEM program identification, facilitation, evaluation and technical support; data improvements; extended partnership building; and industry-supported internships for students and/or teachers.

  • Objective 3:  Engage institutions with a broader range of partners in K-12, industry, four-year institutions, and researchers to help sustain STEM programs and improve community college HSIs’ federal program competitiveness

The project will leverage the SFAz STEM Center’s existing, robust networks to develop a collection of KickStarter networks. These associations will serve to jump-start KickStarter institutions and can become idea factories for future projects and proposals. As institutions move through the KickStarter process, they will help each other become grounded in and grow these networked platforms.  The Arizona STEM Network, led by the SFAz STEM Center, is an online collaboration between businesses, educators, government and philanthropy and will be used as a networking platform for community college HSIs (

KickStarter Program FAQ's

We were a sub-grantee on a Title V (or Title III) program. Does that disqualify us? Do we need to have had our own award?

You are eligible to apply for the KickStarter program having benefited from a Title V or Title III sub-grant.  However, the Title V grant must “be focused on (a) recruiting and retaining students in STEM, (b) updating and streamlining STEM courses and degree/certification attainment and/or (c) expanding federal funding competitiveness.

If you don’t have a Title V or Title III grant or sub-grant, you will need to show that you have sought a Federal Grant in the five years preceding the KickStarter application deadline, have foundational infrastructure that supports STEM related programs already underway, and have the ability to pursue federal grant funding in support of STEM educational research.

What are the budget conditions of the application? Are there any matching requirements, and what can the participating schools expect in the way of financial support?

Budget conditions of the application do not include any matching requirements.  Since this is not a monetary grant per se, there will be no transaction of funds.  However we will provide the following:

  1. Technical expertise of our Community College Field Representatives to assist and guide the college in a self-analysis of its STEM Pathway programs and strategies, develop a STEM Pathways strategic plan, and create a competitive research proposal strategy and develop the research concept.
  2. Research Concept Development experts will follow up to match the concept to the appropriate federal funding program, and provide direction for the proposal development, preparation, and submission process.  The KickStarter goal is to assist colleges in preparing at least two competitive research concepts for proposal development and submission.
  3. We will also pay the travel/hotel/per diem costs for two members of your Internal Team to attend the Kickoff meeting in Washington DC during the week of April 23-25, 2019 including travel days.

Meet the Team

Caroline VanIngen-Dunn, MS
Director, Community College STEM Pathways

Caroline VanIngen-Dunn brings 23 years of research, development and program management experience in industry and in STEM education to her 5 years at Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) where she is the Director of Community College STEM Pathways. She joined SFAz in 2008, playing an integral role in setting the stage for what is now the Arizona STEM Network, led by SFAz.  Ms. VanIngen-Dunn has had programmatic and budget oversight of $5.5M in STEM education programs with schools, community colleges and universities.

Read more
 Programs include delivering university-level engineering courses to high school students who garner credits toward an engineering degree, increasing student college-going rates through a wholeschool STEM delivery model, and developing an afterschool STEM Club pilot resulting in a user-friendly model that can be replicated and scaled statewide.  Ms. VanIngen-Dunn works with rural Arizona colleges developing STEM Pathways that encourage and prepare students to pursue STEM certifications and degrees. She is also working to align college-based programs with university-level engineering degrees.

Prior to SFAz, Ms. VanIngen-Dunn specialized in occupant protection and vehicle safety for the aerospace defense and railroad industries working in industry and eventually through her own consulting business, CVID Consulting Services, LLC, where she also developed and delivered STEM education programs and initiatives. Her clients include Arizona State University, Maricopa Community Colleges, Arizona Science Center, the Federal Railroad Administration, Arizona Department of Commerce, TIAX, Simula Inc. (now BAE Systems), and other local defense contractors.

Ms. VanIngen-Dunn has an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University and a BSE in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Iowa. She serves on the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering Advisory Board and on a number of local school and nonprofit advisory committees.

Anita Grierson, MBA
Program Officer, Community College STEM Pathways

Anita Grierson holds a Master’s of Business Administration from Arizona State University, a Masters of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University, and a Bachelors of Science in Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan. Most recently, Ms. Grierson has served for six years as the Director of the METS program for Motivated Engineering Transfer Students at Arizona State University. Under a grant from the National Science Foundation, Ms. Grierson helped to double or even triple enrollment of Engineering transfer students from grant Community Colleges to ASU. Ms. Grierson led mentoring, tutoring, and other student engagement programs that tripled the use of an on-campus student center.

Read more

Students in the program had a 95+% graduation rate and continued to full time graduate school at a rate of over 50%. Ms. Grierson was also a guest lecturer for Academic Success and Professional Development and Transfer Success courses.

Prior to joining ASU, Ms. Grierson served as a part time business development and program management consultant. She supported mid- to large-sized technology companies with market analysis and strategic planning. During this time Ms. Grierson also served as an Instructor for the International Center for Safety Education, teaching courses on Human Tolerance to Injury, leading Case Studies in Transport Aviation Safety and providing an Introduction to the Safety Improvement Process.

For 8 years Ms. Grierson served as a Biomedical Engineer, Program Manager, and Senior Technology Analyst in the Aerospace and Defense Industry. As a Technology Analyst, she re-organized Program Management and Engineering policies and infrastructure for a troubled division of the company and developed and implemented a multi-divisional ‘stage-gate’ product development process. As a Program Manager, Ms. Grierson led a NASA-funded Transportation Safety program, managed the design, development and testing of a new aircraft seat, and initiated and led many small programs that better linked a corporate-wide R&D group with several product divisions. As Biomedical Engineer, Ms. Grierson led a team of military, FAA and civilian experts through the development and implementation of a novel evaluation criteria for a new safety system. She provided Biomechanical Engineering support for the research, development, design, testing and regulation of a variety of safety systems including aircraft air bags, aircraft seating and restraint systems, body and vehicle armor, head and neck protection systems, and rehabilitation products.

Ms. Grierson co-wrote “Sports Materials”, a set of activities, design projects and educational support materials that introduced Materials Science and Engineering concepts to middle and high school students nationwide. With a firm belief in inquiry-based learning, Ms. Grierson also brought over a dozen hands-on STEM-related projects and experiments that she designed to elementary school classrooms.

Anna Tanguma-Gallegos, MS
Program Officer, Community College STEM Pathways

Anna Tanguma-Gallegos brings 10 years of STEM strategic planning and program management experience in higher education environments and initiatives. Anna has a history of promoting and increasing enrollment in the programs she manages, as well as developing collaborative relationships with corporate and community members. Anna has provided successful direction to federally funded programs within the higher education field.  Anna spearheaded the relationship with Health Pathways Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District, and University of California-San Diego Moore’s Cancer Center to develop their first-ever nursing internship summer program and offering a value-added learning experience for the students. 

Read more

In her role at Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) STEM Center, Anna is working with Hispanic Serving Community Colleges as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded KickStarter Program.  The goal of KickStarter is to enhance the enrollment of Latino students in STEM fields by helping colleges with their STEM planning and maximizing the competitiveness of their federal grant proposals to fund those plans.  As a Program Officer for the Community College STEM Pathways Initiative, Anna works closely with all community college teams, guides them through the KickStarter process, and connects them to community and industry partners.

Anna brings a unique skillset to this position with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Behavioral Science/Educational Counseling from National University, CA. Prior to SFAz Center for STEM, Anna was the Manager of Alumni & Community Relations for National University.  Anna developed partnerships within the community colleges and non-profit industry throughout San Diego and Los Angeles for National University.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and State Senator Ben Hueso recently recognized Anna for her work in the MANA De San Diego Latina Success Leadership Program.

Cynthia Pickering
SFAz Fellow

Cynthia Pickering is an electrical engineer with 35 years industry technical leadership in software development, artificial intelligence, information technology architecture/engineering, and collaboration systems research. Cynthia is the Process Architect for KickStarter, responsible for capturing and creating repeatable KickStarter Processes, and making them available online.

Read more
  Throughout her career, she has written robotics software, diagnostic expert systems for space station, manufacturing equipment models, and architected complex IT systems for global collaboration that included engagement analytics. In September 2015,  she joined the SFAz Center for STEM to translate her passion for STEM into opportunities that will attract, inspire, and retain more underrepresented groups in STEM education and careers.
Contact Us / Newsletter

Thank you for contacting us. We will respond as soon as we can. -SFAz