NSF Grants $3M to Continue Undergrad Training in STEM


Correction: This article originally appeared on p. 5 of the Fall 2022 issue of CSUN Magazine, with a photo of biology professor MariaElena Zavala. Zavala is not a principal investigator for the ESTUDIO grant. The CSUN Magazine staff regrets the error.


CSUN has received a $3 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to lay the foundation for what university officials hope will be an ongoing effort to encourage research by undergraduate students across disciplines and to provide support to faculty who want to expand research opportunities for their students.

The money is to support the creation of ESTUDIO: Excellence in Student Training for Undergraduates, Diversity Initiative Office. The program is designed to inspire new generations of researchers while expanding the opportunities for research to students studying science, technology, engineer- ing and mathematics (STEM). “We’ve already established centers and best practices in a variety of STEM arenas,” said CSUN psychology professor Gabriela Chavira, one of the new program’s architects.

“The goal is for ESTUDIO to serve students across disciplines to learn and experience research.” CSUN Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs Christopher Sanford pointed out that research “is an important skillset that you can take with you, irrespective of your career path.” In addition to Chavira, those working on establishing ESTUDIO include civil engineering professor Crist Khachikian and Melanie Bocanegra, associate vice president for student success.

The new program will tap into the best practices of many others on campus that already offer un- dergraduate research — including BUILD PODER: Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity – Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research, and Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research, both designed to encourage CSUN students to consider STEM careers.

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