Fresno State’s College of Health and Human Services admitted more than 800 pre-health first-time freshmen for fall 2021. Some will become nurses, many staying in the Valley; others will find alternate avenues to help fill the health care provider shortage.
One vehicle the college uses to set these students on the road to success is the Fresno State Mobile Health Unit. Through the Mobile Health Unit, students gain personal experience delivering basic health services to the surrounding community, including the unhoused and residents of rural areas.
Earlier this year, nursing students helped administer more than 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines to farmworkers and other community members.
Representatives from Chevron visited the Fresno State campus on a recent summer day, seeing firsthand how gifts from the company have powered student opportunities, including a new 12-seat van that will allow students from throughout the college the opportunity to travel to where the Mobile Health Unit is, but also experience other experiential learning opportunities throughout the Valley.
“The opportunity to get out into the community is critical,” said Dr. Denise Seabert, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “The van will provide transportation for our students so they can continue to volunteer with the Mobile Health Unit, but also travel to other areas that expose them to vital hands-on learning and research experiences, better preparing them to serve the health care needs of our region and beyond.”
With its most recent gift of $350,000, Chevron has given more than $2 million to Fresno State programs in the past five years, including the Mobile Health Unit. Chevron representatives formalized this year’s gift with a ceremonial check presentation on campus today, near the Fresno State Veterans Monument.
Chevron’s gifts focus on addressing a shortage of STEM-trained workers (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the region and providing enhanced educational opportunities in these areas.
“We are grateful for the ongoing support of STEM education efforts by our community partners at Chevron,” said Fresno State President Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval. “The gifts Chevron has made over the past five years have truly supported our mission of empowering our students to meet the challenges of the modern workforce.”
Their visit included presentations about the Veterans Education Program and a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Innovation Classroom, as well as stops to see initiatives in the Colleges of Science and Mathematics and Health and Human Services and Lyles College of Engineering.
Chevron will support the following Fresno State initiatives with this year’s gift:
- The Fresno State Mobile Health Unit in the College of Health and Human Services: The Mobile Health Unit became even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show that vaccination rates for minority and frontline worker populations statewide remain drastically low. The Mobile Health Unit is uniquely situated to meet these challenges because it is mobile and can go where the need is greatest. The School of Nursing has partnered with local health care organizations and public health departments to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to underserved populations to help bridge the equity gap. Chevron’s donation to the Mobile Health Unit will pay for a year of operating costs, enabling the Mobile Health Unit to continue to provide invaluable hands-on learning to over 120 nursing students while also ensuring the vaccination of thousands of the Central Valley’s most at-risk individuals in rural and underserved areas.
- The Veterans Education Program offered through the Division of Continuing and Global Education: Student veterans have unique needs on their journey to success that differ from the typical college student. The transition from military life to higher education can be challenging. The University’s Veterans Education Program provides an educational re-entry opportunity for men and women who have served or are currently serving our country. Chevron’s gift enables the program to advance economic and social opportunities for veteran students.
- Lab renovations and Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURES) in the College of Science and Mathematics: There continues to be a critical shortage of U.S. students in STEM disciplines; the National Academy of Sciences recently ranked the U.S. 27th among developed nations in producing undergraduate degrees in STEM. Fewer than 40% of students entering college who intend to major in a STEM discipline complete a STEM degree. A lack of diversity persists in U.S. STEM graduates and the STEM workforce, with minorities and underserved students being underrepresented. This gift from Chevron will allow the College of Science and Mathematics to complete two general chemistry laboratory renovations for enhanced research and curriculum utilized by the CUREs Program.
“Chevron’s partnership with Fresno State demonstrates our shared commitment to helping our Central Valley communities thrive,” said Amy McTaggart, a Fresno State alumna and digital manager in Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit, who represented the company at the gift announcement. “Programs supported by Chevron’s latest donation to Fresno State will help expand health care services to residents in underserved areas, prepare veterans for civilian careers and equip students with STEM skills they need to succeed in careers of the future. It is our pleasure to support programs that make a difference in the lives of Central Valley residents.”