Seated from left, Emily Allen, dean of the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology at Cal State LA, and Col. Kirk Gibbs, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District, are joined by representatives from the University, USACE and Great Minds in STEM during a signing ceremony. Standing from left, Representatives include Mark Tufenkjian, chair of the University’s Department of Civil Engineering, Charles (Steve) Dwyer, chief of the navigations branch at the USACE Los Angeles District, Jose A. Gomez, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Cal State LA, Roberto Garcia, Cal State LA alumnus and civil engineer in the U.S. Army hydrology and hydraulics branch, David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for project management at the USACE Los Angeles District, and Ray Mellado, chairman and founder of Great Minds in STEM. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)
Los Angeles — Cal State LA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Los Angeles District signed an agreement to work together to enhance educational and career opportunities for students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The memorandum of understanding signed by representatives of Cal State LA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides a framework for cooperative educational, research and professional collaborations.
“This is obviously a great opportunity for our students,” said Emily Allen, dean of the University’s College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology. “Our students are from the L.A. region and they want to stay in the L.A. region. They want to make L.A. a better place to live.”
As part of the agreement, Cal State LA will inform students about the Army Corps of Engineers and the professional opportunities offered through its Pathways Program. The Army Corps of Engineers will establish a list of volunteer professionals who are available to serve as mentors, participate in training workshops for students, offer guest lectures on STEM subjects and conduct site visits to USACE facilities.
The University and the Army Corps of Engineers recognize the increasing need for a diverse workforce that possesses STEM skills.
“We need engineers,” said Col. Kirk E. Gibbs, commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District. “Our ability to bring in talent is even more important than ever. I thank you all for stepping forward to enter into this memorandum with us.”
As a student, Roberto Garcia served as an intern with the Army Corps of Engineers. Today, the Cal State LA alumnus works as a civil engineer in the U.S. Army hydrology and hydraulics branch.
“We’ll direct more exceptional students like Roberto to the Army Corps of Engineers,” said Jose A. Gomez, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Cal State LA. “This is a tremendous partnership and pathway for our students. We hope to expand the partnership and extend opportunities to students in other disciplines.”
Several representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers attended the signing, including David Van Dorpe, deputy district engineer for project management, Steve Dwyer, chief of the navigations branch, Jennie Ayala, outreach coordinator, and Jessie Meadows, equal employment officer. Representatives from Great Minds in STEM also attended the event.