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CSUF Math Program Encouraging Women to Study STEM Honored

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Cal State Fullerton’s Project MISS has been selected as one of 21 finalists for the national 2021 Examples of Excelencia, awarded by Excelencia in Education, a program committed to informing, organizing and compelling change to advance Latinx success.  

This year, 145 submissions were received from 23 states and Puerto Rico. This list was narrowed down to 21 finalists. The finalists’ status was based on the programs’ dedication to Latinx student success in higher education. Cal State Fullerton is one of eight finalists in the Baccalaureate category. 

The Mathematics Intensive Summer Session, or MISS, assists college-bound high school women in enhancing their mathematics skills. The long-term goal of the program is to increase the population of female-identifying students who choose careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The program has been offered for 32 years and many of the participants are the first in their families to attend college. 

“The immediate goal is to increase students’ abilities to learn and use mathematical concepts that can support their achievement in high school/college preparatory work,” said David Pagni, professor of mathematics who founded the program more than three decades ago and remains active with the program. 

To date, about 2,000 students have participated in the Project MISS program with 98% of the participants going on to college. Currently, five former Project MISS students are enrolled at CSUF.

“This is quite an honor to be one of the finalists,” said Pagni. “Cal State Fullerton, as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, has a long history of reaching out and providing support to students in the Latinx community. It is gratifying to see a high percentage of our participants going on to STEM fields and knowing we may have played a part in their success.” 

Project MISS is a partnership between the Division of Student Affairs and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Valerie Orleans