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The CREATE STEM Success Initiative team was honored at UC San Diego's 2014 Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards program.

CSSI Testimonials

In the CREATE STEM Success Initiative, CREATE staff work with partners across campus and community to collectively design, execute, and evaluate outreach and education projects. Here are some recent testimonials to that work!

It is also one of the best integrations of the research and broader impacts I’ve read in previous CAREER proposals.

NSF CAREER reviewer to UC San Diego professor supported in broader impact design by CSSI

Since its inception, CSSI has been an essential outreach partner for Scripps Oceanography, providing robust links to the STEM education community and outreach opportunities of proven efficacy and impact for our scientists. CSSI has been invaluable in helping to forward Scripps outreach goals. 

Cheryl Peach
Director, Scripps Educational Alliances
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

I moved to San Diego and started as an assistant teaching professor at UCSD in late 2016. One of my goals was to match an outreach project I work on ( with interested teachers at local schools. I was introduced to the CREATE team through a colleague and was quickly invited to participate in events that local teachers attended right on campus. By the end of 2017, with further introductions from CREATE, this turned into a series of meetings and mini-pilots where I was presenting directly to teachers and administrators in San Diego Unified School District. This collaboration has jump-started my ability to do this work in San Diego, where teachers are now, in fall 2018, using a version of this curriculum in the classroom tailored to the district's goals.

Joe Gibbs Politz
Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UC San Diego

SSC Pacific's leadership has a long and outstanding history of commitment to our community through STEM, and efforts like this are testament to that, as is ONR's investment in current and future scientists through organizations like CREATE. As always, let me know how I can help your causes and initiatives to help our children (I have one), our teachers (I married one), and our community (I was born in San Diego). But more importantly, thank you... Jim... Kathryn... Dominga... and the rest of your team for letting me participate, and committing your lives to science and our children.

M. Yanagi, Researcher
SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific

(Describing a CSSI grant supporting Office of Naval Research-funded UC San Diego scientists to partner with San Diego science teachers to create cutting-edge science lessons for local classrooms.)

The lesson plans and projects provided by CREATE were engaging and piqued our students’ interest! They were great at engaging the variety of grade levels (K-12) and diverse backgrounds we serve in our afterschool and summer programs (in City Heights). CREATE has been instrumental at also helping with professional development by teaching our staff how to use some of the science equipment we have to engage science lessons in a manner that our students can identify with and benefit from.

Norman Paraiso
Director, La Maestra Center for Youth Advancement

(Describing CREATE’s contribution for providing culturally relevant science lesson development and instruction to staff for lesson implementation.)

The Computer Science Teachers Association's mission – that all children have access to learning this important subject that affects their lives each day – aligns with CREATE’s goals for equity education. I consider this re-boot of our organization and partnership with CREATE an exciting, new beginning. CREATE has certainly made an impact for our San Diego Region regarding Computer Science Education with our children, teachers and communities at large. 

Art Lopez
CSTA-San Diego Chapter President
Computer Science Curriculum Specialist, Sweetwater Union High School District
Teacher, Sweetwater High School

The CREATE team, and particularly Kathryn Schulz, were instrumental in helping launch the new Natural Reserve System undergraduate science liaison program at Dawson-Los Monos Canyon Reserve. Kathryn helped me develop a program aligned with the NGSS and connected us with Kellie Fleming and other educators in the Vista school district. We have now started a collaboration with Ranch Buena Vista High School. We initiated the program with one of their classes, but very quickly the collaboration expanded to include the chair of their science program and a new donor-funded program for their honors students.  None of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic support and networking from the CREATE staff.

Heather Henter
Academic Coordinator
Natural Reserve System, UC San Diego

Thanks everyone for the great effort to put together an amazing grant proposal--it was really teamwork and I could not have done it without you all, especially Susan Yonezawa through the trust that school districts have in her and the CREATE program. 

Wael Al-Delaimy
Professor, Division Chief of Global Health
Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, UC San Diego

(Describing CREATE's role in connecting UC San Diego's School of Medicine to the San Diego Unified School District and Chula Vista Elementary School District for a grant to provide the education teachers need to identify mental health issues in secondary students.)

Sherman Academy is a Title I PK-5th grade elementary school near downtown San Diego, with 90% of the student body that qualify for free or reduced lunch. About 75% of our students are English Learners and 10% are considered “homeless,” with some coming from the nearby homeless shelters in East Village. With the leadership and guidance of Mr. Beto Vasquez and other CREATE team members, Sherman initiated its first Science Club. The group of students, teachers, and volunteers met on a weekly basis and prepared for the San Diego County Office of Education’s Science Field Day. It was a great success! Our students gained knowledge in the STEM field and the confidence to compete with other schools in more affluent areas. Mr. Vasquez and the CREATE team also helped us to organize a Family STEM Night where our students, families, and other community members had an opportunity to engage in hands-on science and engineering activities and investigations. It was a hit! The commitment and experience provided by CREATE not only got our students excited and engaged, but staff and parents alike! We look forward to continuing our newly established Science Club and the excitement CREATE has generated among our students in an effort to increase science engagement.

Nicole Cázares Enriquez
Sherman Academy

Due to CREATE-- and Susan’s incredible passion, intelligence, vision, and dedication, and her ability to quickly recognize a unique opportunity for social justice and education through art-- multiple projects and possibilities were born within the month!

Jay Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen
Fellow, Open Society Institute
Dr. Michael Latz
Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

(Describing CREATE’s effort to share its expertise and community connections to help initiate a pilot project combining art and science, which became a multi-year STEAM initiative linking several educators, districts/schools, and community non-profits in San Diego with newfound CREATE-CSSI partners Latz and Wolf Schlossberg-Cohen.)

Our June San Diego Area Writing Project workshops for 11th graders went great -- we are beyond thrilled. Students benefited from early exposure to Academic Writing Placement Exam prompts and specific feedback from university writing instructors. They will continue to benefit as this pilot provides additional writing instruction over the summer and into their senior year. In addition, teachers gained professional development by implementing the mock exam and by observing in student workshops. They learned firsthand how student writing is evaluated, as well as how to improve their students’ skills.

Anne Robinson
Instructional Leader and English Department Chair
Gompers Preparatory Academy

(Describing a College Ready Writers outreach program designed with the San Diego Area Writing Project and Teaching + Learning Commons at UC San Diego.)

The CREATE STEM Success Initiative is fulfilling an extremely important role at UC San Diego by unifying and informing the outreach efforts of departments across the institution. It has been a pleasure to work collaboratively under the CSSI umbrella. The collaboration has proven to be a productive means of extending the work we have been doing at Scripps to a broader audience, providing access to expertise essential to high quality outreach, and establishing communication channels that connect outreach providers at UC San Diego in a way that has not happened before the CSSI was established.

Cheryl Peach, Ph.D.
Director, Scripps Educational Alliances
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego
Congratulations to you and the CREATE STEM Success Initiative core staff team for receiving a Diversity Award at the UC San Diego Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action!

Well deserved! It energizes all of us! 

Gabriele Wienhausen
Executive Director
Teaching and Learning Commons, UC San Diego

Mica and her team at CREATE has made our education program much stronger.

Shaochen Chen, PhD
Professor of NanoEngineering and Bioengineering
Co-Director of Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Center
Institute of Engineering in Medicine

We at the National Marine Mammal Foundation would like to thank CREATE for Dr. Susan Yonezawa's help in formulating our evolving K-12 outreach strategy. Whereas our primary job is to assure extraordinary health of the Navy's marine mammals, we also publish research articles related to marine mammals and stewardship of the sea, about two per month. We would like to share our passion for that research and our researchers with the K-12 community and have greatly benefited from Susan's advice, which we hope to tap further in the future.

Very Respectfully,
Erika Putman
Director of Education and Outreach
National Marine Mammal Foundation
Navy Marine Mammal Program 

I hope you are well. I wanted to introduce you to my colleague in Chemistry who will be putting together an NSF CAREER application in the near future.  I mentioned to him what a great opportunity it was for me to partner with CREATE to develop my broader outreach program. Hopefully you can touch base and discuss possibilities with him.


Neal K. Devaraj
Assistant Professor
Chemistry and Biochemistry and Bioengineering
University of California, San Diego

Thank you once again for always connecting me to the most amazing people. 

Cyndi Bendezú Palomino, M.A.
Assistant Director, McNair Research Scholars Program
UCLA Academic Advancement Program

I’m emailing you to share with you some exciting results we saw by the end of our [SAT] program! Inevitably, there were some students who dropped out. But many of those who powered through the program improved their scores by 200 points on the 2400 SAT scale! One of our top students from Gompers improved by 280 points, marking a 1750 on his final diagnostic exam.I cannot thank you enough for all your help and support. If you would be interested, I would love to consult you about possibly extending our program throughout the academic year. Many of our tutors are interested, but we’d love to hear your thoughts on the logistics behind the program.

Thanks again for all your help.

Sora Chee
Research Associate at UCSD School of Medicine

First and foremost, on behalf of the Institute of the Americas, I want to thank you for your support to this program and agreeing to come speak to our participants. Your presentation was absolutely phenomenal and you were truly an inspiration to all our teachers. Without your involvement, our program would not have been the success it was. We heard amazing feedback from our participants; they truly enjoyed your talk and demo!    

Denisse A. Fernández
Director of Summer Science Program
Program Associate
Institute of the Americas

Just confirming that CREATE has completed WITH DISTINCTION the efforts proposed in the original BEST project statement of work. Moreover, they have served to connect us (SSC Pacific in San Diego) with a cohort of excellent middle school teachers who are interested to continue to work with us as well as like-minded educators at the Reuben H. Fleet Center. In various ways through SSC Pacific STEM professionals and/or summer institute teachers, thousands of students have benefited from the institute through classroom presentations and demonstrations. Moreover, there is the reasonable hope that teachers will continue to as CREATE has built a website from which teachers can draw presentations, demonstration instructions, videos.

Jim Rohr

I am so excited about all of this great work that I can barely sit in my chair. To think that our small pilot project with CREATE, USCD extension, SDCC Math Dept. and Price last year could be the seed that will germinate this marvelous garden of abundance for our SDCC students is very exciting. This again validates how well things can be for all of us when we collaborate and share resources and expertise.

Thank you all for all of your hard work on the continuing success of this worthy effort to improve the success of our students in the Gatekeeper courses.

Mariaelena Delgado, M.A.
Price Scholarship Program Director

I’m so impressed with CREATE’s ability to turn words into action. We’re so glad to be partnering with you. Without you, we would never hope to make the kind of giving impact we’re currently enjoying.

Kit-Victoria Wells
Team Liaison
Christopher Weil & Company

We're gearing up for the launch of the community service transportation program thanks to the collaborative efforts of Mica, Susan, Ryan and Tiveeda! We’re picking up our 3 community service vans tomorrow. Many thanks to you for assisting on the development of routes and partnering in the software that will allow the students to sign-up for the vans. This has been a wonderful collaborative partnership, and one that will allow more students to serve the community.

Thank you again! Here's to engaging more students in the community!

Emily Marx
Director, Center for Student Involvement
UC San Diego