Community College STEM Pathways – KickStarter

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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

Application Deadline

Email Interest to Participate (required):
June 2, 2016 – Closed

Full Application Due Date:
June 23, 2016; 5pm PDT – Closed

Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz) issued this Call for Applications to Community College HSIs from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Florida to participate in an intensive, comprehensive technical assistance program designed for this 3-year grant period to prepare and position them to compete successfully for federal funds focused on student recruitment and retention in STEM fields.

Call for Applications

downloadIcon Download the Call for Applications (pdf)

Who Can Apply?

  1. Applicants must be designated (with at least 25% Hispanic student enrollment) Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) within California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, or Florida.
  2. The HSI must be a Community College.
  3. Applicants must have active or recent Title-­‐V funding and the awarded Title V project 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.
  4. Applicants must have previously submitted proposal(s) in the last 5 years to NSF, or other government agency, and been declined.
  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. (Exception is NSF S-STEM/STEP awards before 2015).



stempathwaysThe KickStarter Program, led by SFAz,  is a technical assistance program that prepares and positions Community College HSI’s to compete successfully for federal funds with focus on student recruitment and retention in STEM fields.  The program begins immediately with the Kickstarter application process that includes NSF principles to guide and support college participants on their paths to developing competitive proposals to NSF.  For STEM planning purposes, the program uses the SFAz STEM Pathways Model and Guide (refer to STEM Pathways Guide) to assist community colleges in developing their strategies to increase recruitment and retention of students in STEM career and transfer pathway programs.  The SFAz STEM Pathways Model is a strategic framework that provides community colleges with an easy-­to-­use roadmap for researching, planning and implementing STEM Pathway programs.   Proposals to NSF that are built upon college-wide STEM plans designed to improve 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 potentially funded.   Assistance is provided to develop these NSF proposals.  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. SFAz’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 SFAz 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

SFAz’s 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.  Selected institutions agree to work with KickStarter to produce a minimum of two competitive proposals to NSF (per college) during the award period, of which KickStarter’s goal is that at least one be awarded per college.

  • 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 carry-out the proposed project. Following their Readiness Framework and guided by their KickStarter Field Representatives, institutions will engage in activities such as, for example:  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 SFAz’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 project, they will help each other become grounded in and grow these networked platforms.  The Arizona STEM Network, led by SFAz, 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 subgrantee on a Title V 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 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.

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 proposal strategy that will be paired with our Grant Writing experts.
  2. Grant Writing experts who will follow up to assist with the proposal development, preparation, and submission process.  The KickStarter goal is to assist colleges in preparing at least two and winning at least one NSF award so the financial support from that prospective award should be considered in your decision.
  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 September 14-18 (either Sep 14-16 or 16-18 including travel days).

Despite repeated attempts at NSF funding, we have secured only one, which is the S-STEM scholarship one. Does receiving this one disqualify us?

You are eligible to apply for the KickStarter program if you are the prime recipient of a scholarship grant, such as the NSF-funded S-STEM grant which replaced STEP grants a few years back.

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.

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Ms. VanIngen-Dunn has had programmatic and budget oversight of $5.5M in STEM education programs with schools, community colleges and universities. 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.

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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. 

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In her role at Science Foundation Arizona (SFAz), 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, 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.

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