Statement of Priority on Diversity and Inclusiveness
Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) fully embraces diversity and inclusiveness in its K-12 outreach. VAST provides and supports STEM education in K-12 schools, after-school groups, and organizations, focusing particularly on the neighborhoods around the University of Southern California campuses, which are populated by historically under-represented demographic groups. Most of our partner schools serve populations that are at least 97% Latino/Hispanic and/or African-American, and usually 85% or more of those students participate in free lunch programs. VAST targets girls in our outreach and media representations, recognizing the importance of securing positive STEM attitudes at even the earliest ages.
Here is a list of some of VAST's specific K-12 diversity programs. VAST commits to equity and inclusion in our pedagogy, hiring and mentoring. We assess our programs through surveys that confirm VAST’s outreach to and impact with K-12 students from under-represented communities. In hiring and training mentors to serve K-12 students, we set inclusion and accountability as core values. We proactively work to develop women and under-represented minorities as leaders in all aspects of our mentoring programs.
USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) is a program of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering whose mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged and historically underrepresented K-12 students who matriculate to four-year universities and graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). STEM-EOP engages K-12 students throughout Southern California in authentic STEM experiences through hands-on, problem-based learning projects, experiments and activities as well as interactions with STEM professionals, STEM faculty and STEM near peer mentors. STEM-EOP also offers teacher professional development in STEM. In addition, STEM-EOP collaborates other USC departments and outside organizations to enhance STEM education across the greater Los Angeles area.
We are inspired in our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness by the leadership of USC Viterbi School of Engineering Dean Yannis C. Yortsos. As chair of the Diversity Committee of the Engineering Deans Council for the American Society for Engineering Education, Dean Yortsos initiated the Engineering Deans Pledge, which he presented at the White House on “Demo Day".