Bayer USA Foundation Awards $75,000 Grant to Connect and Engage Northern California Communities in STEM

History-making Astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison and Congresswoman Barbara Lee Help Launch New CIRCLe Lab at the East Oakland YMCA

Dr. Jemison to speak before sold-out crowd at The Commonwealth Club

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 12, 2016 (PRNewswire) | Students and families in Northern California will be one step closer to thriving in a technologically-driven age thanks to a $75,000 grant to be celebrated at 3:30 p.m. today during a community event at the East Oakland YMCA featuring pioneering astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African-American woman to travel into space.

The Bayer USA Foundation is awarding the grant to the foundation of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance for the purpose of scaling and replicating Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Collaborative Learning (CIRCLe) Labs at the East Oakland YMCA and other pilot sites.  The grant also will provide resources to coordinate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) career access and awareness in the region.

Dr. Mae C. Jemison, lead ambassador of the Bayer Making Science Make Sense (R) STEM education initiative, will help launch a new CIRCLe Lab at the East Oakland YMCA today. (PRNewsFoto/Bayer)
Dr. Mae C. Jemison, lead ambassador of the Bayer Making Science Make Sense (R) STEM education initiative, will help launch a new CIRCLe Lab at the East Oakland YMCA today. (PRNewsFoto/Bayer)

Highlights of the grant include operational support to develop:

  • A formal STEM implementation plan and communications strategies
  • Early childhood math literacy programs
  • Neighborhood CIRCLe Labs where STEM professionals work with teachers, non-profit organizations and community leaders to promote STEM education and careers
  • Opportunities for employer-led and employer-influenced engagement for students to STEM-related skill development, internships, jobs and careers

The overarching goal of the grant is to serve as a regional model that can be implemented nationally and create a blueprint for effective public-private partnerships that promote and advance STEM education. Grant deliverables include communications strategies that teach caregivers how to influence students about STEM; public advocacy of STEM from business champions; avenues to promote early childhood math literacy; neighborhood based state-of-the-art technology sites featuring CIRCLe Labs offering hands-on use of 3D printers, laser cutters and other advanced technology; STEM career awareness days; and targeted internships and job shadowing.  Neighborhoods with less capacity for resources, such as East Oakland, will be high-priority sites for CIRCLe labs and business engagement.

The community event today at the East Oakland YMCA will feature Dr. Mae C. Jemison, who has served as the lead ambassador of the Bayer Making Science Make Sense® STEM education initiative since its inception in 1995, and other officials committed to STEM education.

“One of the biggest gaps for low-income students is a simple lack of awareness of all the STEM work that surrounds them—of the jobs that pay well with only a year or two of post-secondary education, of the exciting work being done in the STEM fields including robotics, aeronautics, biotech, and alternative energy. CIRCLe Labs bring those professionals right into neighborhoods where children and families can learn informally and consistently about the opportunities open to them. The East Bay Economic Development Alliance is committed to rallying our member companies to be part of this face-to-face movement to demystify STEM careers and create the pool of talent that our employers are calling for,” said Honorable Keith Carson, Chair, East Bay EDA and Supervisor, Alameda County.

“We are excited to be collaborating with our new partners as we open this CIRCLe Lab pilot site to provide crucial STEM learning to kids in our East Oakland community,” said Don Lau, Interim President and CEO of the YMCA of the East Bay.

Cal State East Bay is committed to STEM education because it is essential in our increasingly technological society, and it helps give our well-prepared graduates access to the rewarding jobs in the innovative industries that are driving our economy. CIRCLe Labs are an imaginative collaboration to bring the expertise of our faculty and community partners directly into neighborhoods who have the least access to STEM professionals. We are delighted that Bayer has announced today a grant to our key business partner, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, that will bring local STEM volunteers in to power the CIRCLe Lab presentations. This is a great partnership, which we hope will soon expand to other communities. Thank you Bayer for once again providing such leadership in STEM education!” expressed Dr. Leroy Morishita – President, California State University East Bay.

“Wareham has been committed to building a strong local STEM workforce in the Bay Area for years.  We were first onboard with the CIRCLe Labs, which is a progressive after school and summer educational SYLABUS APPLICATION concept, that must be expanded throughout East Bay schools and community organizations. It is our pleasure to support the YMCA of the East Bay and CIRCLe Labs in this endeavor,” said Rich Robbins, Founder & President of Wareham Development.

After a speaking portion by Dr. Jemison, students from the YMCA community will do hands-on STEM experiments, followed by a Q&A session with her. The newly-launched CIRCLe Lab will allow students from the David E. Glover Education and Technology Center to join the Q&A session via video conference, offering a broader reach of students’ access to these resources.

As part of a two-day tour of the Bay Area, Dr. Jemison is on a mission to increase awareness about STEM and has been a driving force in shaping the way science is taught in the United States.

“I firmly believe that students should be exposed to the deep satisfaction of meeting STEM challenges in everyday educational practice and the confidence it brings,” she said. “Hands on STEM lessons foster a child’s innate drive and love of exploring the world. That early engagement is essential to STEM careers. I say, ‘don’t doubt, dare!'”

She will give a talk titled “Launching Women into Science and Tech” before a sold-out crowd at The Commonwealth Club: San Francisco tomorrow night. Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant will moderate.

About Bayer Corporation and Making Science Make Sense®

Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2015, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of EUR 46.3 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.3 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to

Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS) is Bayer’s company-wide initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science education, employee volunteerism and public education. For more information, go to

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