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Stanford Engagement in the Region

2022 community projects grapple with COVID-19 impacts

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With support from the Office of Community Engagement, Stanford faculty are joining forces with community organizations to help remedy pandemic-related challenges.

A university panel has selected several projects for seed funding to encourage collaborations created by faculty and community organizations. These projects, which fall in the areas of health and education, continue to concentrate on reducing the impacts of COVID-19 affecting communities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Lathrop library

Assessing Communication Impacts on Student Reading

Faculty: Rebecca D. Silverman, Graduate School of Education
Community Collaborator: Ravenswood City School District

Ravenswood Reads is a tutoring and mentoring service-learning program at the Haas Center for Public Service. Founded in 1982, the program is a collaboration between the Haas Center, the Graduate School of Education and the Ravenswood City School District. Stanford students are taught to support the literacy development of students in kindergarten through third grade, drawing on cutting-edge Stanford research and models. Building on the in-person approach used for decades, the proposed study investigates research questions such as: Does text-message communication with teachers, parents and guardians about tutoring have an effect on children’s reading development? What kinds of communication most facilitate fruitful connections across tutoring, home and school contexts? As tutoring adapts to hybrid mode, OCE funding will support research, data analysis and materials.

Data-Driven Tools to Modernize COVID Outbreak Detection

Faculty: Daniel E. Ho, School of Law and School of Humanities and Sciences, with Jenny Suckale, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
Community Collaborator: Santa Clara County Department of Public Health

The Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and Stanford’s RegLab and Future Bay Initiative developed a partnership in 2020 around COVID-19 response. The collaboration helped to pilot, test and scale interventions to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County and brought modern machine learning and data science to frontline COVID-19 response, with a particular view toward the impact on vulnerable populations. Now RegLab and the county’s public health department will assess contact tracing efforts for COVID-19 and data-driven tools for outbreak detection based on genomic sequencing data. OCE funding will support this assessment.

Person holding diamond structure
Digital music artist

Digital Humanities Research & Training for Bay Area Community College Students

Faculty: Giovanna Ceserani, School of Humanities and Sciences & Office of the Dean of Research
Community Collaborator: Foothill College Humanities Mellon Scholars Program

The Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) is partnering with local community colleges, including Foothill College, College of San Mateo, and De Anza College, to develop a summer quarter 2022 program for Bay Area community college students interested in pursuing humanities-adjacent careers or courses of study. OCE funding will support summer research internships for 12 community college students, who will be paired with Stanford humanities doctoral students for an eight-week program, over the course of which the interns will work on digital humanities projects and learn transferable skills such as research design, data analysis and visualization techniques and digital publication strategies. Feedback and lessons learned will support CESTA’s ongoing development of broader partnerships with institutions across San Mateo and Santa Clara counties to provide community college students with research and training opportunities in the digital humanities.

Digital Assessment System to Explore New Approaches of Literacy Development

Faculty: Jason Yeatman, Graduate School of Education and School of Medicine
Community Collaborator: KIPP Schools of Northern California

The Brain Development & Education Lab at Stanford University has developed a new, automated reading assessment tool that runs in a web browser and allows children to quickly complete a reading assessment in the classroom or from home on a personal computer. The goal of this proposal is to craft this tool to meet the assessment challenges of partner schools in both counties. The lab will build out a full-featured dashboard of assessments that can be quickly administered and provide interactive reports to teachers and school administrators. OCE funding will support a graduate research assistant and web development to build and refine the dashboard through a tightly connected research-and-design cycle to support the schools’ students, teachers and administrators.

Contact: Amy Burkhardt

Graphic about Rapid Online Assessment of Reading
A flow chart describes how the Rapid Online Assessment of Reading is being developed to automatically assess word recognition, down to the first grade, using feedback from teachers in schools and clinics. Image credit: Clementine Chou

Equity Forward Local Impact Labs University Collaborative

Faculty: Jeremy Weinstein, School of Humanities and Sciences
Community Collaborator: Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Equity Forward seeks to tackle the drivers of systemic inequity in Silicon Valley that have left the bottom quartile of the region – disproportionately Black and Brown communities and the undocumented – unable to achieve financial well-being, stable housing and upward economic mobility. This effort will examine upward mobility for individuals as well as broader systems change to address the racial wealth divide. OCE is supporting Stanford Impact Labs in convening 14 higher education institutions in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to co-design and launch a region-wide grant-making program addressing economic and racial inequity.

Contact: Karli Stander

Moremi Mabogunje and Lauren O’ Connell handeling Dyeing Poison Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius)
Moremi Mabogunje and Lauren O’ Connell handling Dyeing Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates tinctorius). Photo credit: Andrew Brodhead

NeURO research opportunities for local community college students

Faculty: Justin Gardner, School of Humanities and Sciences
Community Collaborator: Foothill College, De Anza College

The Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute is partnering with Foothill and De Anza Colleges to welcome promising students from historically marginalized backgrounds into Stanford’s Neuroscience Undergraduate Research Opportunity (NeURO) program. This two-quarter immersion program includes coursework, community building, mentorship and fellowship support to launch students into neuroscience research and gives them the knowledge, network and sense of belonging they will need to thrive. OCE funding will provide this transformational opportunity, that includes high-touch mentorship from course TAs, program staff, and peer, research and faculty mentors to two community college students, and help increase the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds represented in neurosciences.

Contact: Jill Wentzell

Micro-Internships with nano@stanford

Faculty: Debbie Senesky, School of Engineering
Community Collaborator: Foothill College

nano@stanford is partnering with Foothill College’s Science and Learning Institute to introduce Foothill STEM faculty and students to the field of nanotechnology and its ubiquity in STEM research. This project creates an opportunity to engage an untapped population of students with the STEM research community, allowing students to explore research careers while addressing the well-documented need for diverse local technical talent. Foothill STEM instructors and students will experience the innovation environment of state-of-the-art, open-access facilities, like the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility and Stanford Nano Shared Facilities, where university researchers, start-up companies and industrial users have access to staff expertise and precision instrumentation. OCE funds will support micro-research internships for up to 30 students. Outcomes from this program will serve as a model for nano@stanford’s workforce development programs across the Bay Area.

Contact: Daniella Marie Duran


Interns at Stanford Nano Facilities
Interns Leyla Odoutan, Jisel Ruiz, and Rachelle Saldani in a clean room at the Stanford Nano Facility. Image credit: Maurice Stevens


Mobile Teen Van at Los Altos High School
The Teen Health Van on a stop at Los Altos High School. The seed funding will enable more service days in the van’s stops around the county, providing vaccinations to its core focus: teen and young adults. Lead faculty member for the project, Dr. Arash Anoshiravani and Rosa Maldonado, clinic manager and medical assistant for the van are pictured. Photo credit: Douglas Peck Photography

Mobile Teen Vans for Youth COVID Vaccination

Faculty: Arash Anoshiravani and Grace Lee, School of Medicine
Community Collaborator: SCC Office of Education and SMC Department of Public Health

The Stanford Children’s Health Teen Van is a mobile clinic offering free health services to uninsured and underinsured youth and young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Teen Van has played a critical role in responding to community needs, initially by providing access to COVID-19 tests to children and adults. Most recently, the Teen Van has been ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines for all approved ages, as well as continuing its medical, mental and reproductive health services. OCE funding will cover an extra 6.5 mobile clinic days over six months to extend its reach to individuals and communities hit hard by the pandemic.

Social Science Research Assistant Internship Program for Community College Students

Faculty: Gabriella M. Harari, School of Humanities and Sciences
Community Collaborator: Foothill College and Mission College

The Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) and Stanford Media and Personality (MAP) Lab are partnering with Foothill College and Mission College to support positive academic outcomes among community college students who are underrepresented in higher education. The project aims to obtain a better understanding of the particular challenges facing community college students from vulnerable populations in the Bay Area who have been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. OCE funds will remove barriers to participation by supporting up to 20 community college research assistants who will be interns and/or staff within the program in 2022. As a core part of the project, the students will play an important role in a participatory research study focused on understanding how everyday digital media can be harnessed to reach their goals.

Contact: Carolyn Ybarra

Student interns with Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences
Interns at the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences during a previous program at Foothill College; Photo courtesy of Institute for Research in the Social Sciences