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Orange County STEM Initiative

Orange County, CA

Orange County STEM Initiative logo


The OC STEM Initiative exists to foster Orange County’s economic competitiveness and sustainability through promoting STEM competencies across the educational continuum through the creation of strategic partnerships between community stakeholders, including but not limited to families, education, business, government and philanthropy. As of 2016 the initiative is now housed in Samueli School of Engineering at UC Irvine. This collaboration has expanded the School’s portfolio of outreach initiatives and programs.

To ensure the future supply of a technical and highly skilled workforce, cross-sector collaborations between K-12 schools, universities, community based organizations and industry have formed in order to scale effective science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning opportunities.

Key Programs

OC STEM Ecosystem Institute: A 12-month professional learning program that supports the cultivation of STEM Learning Ecosystems at a district level. Each district Ecosystem is comprised of cross-sector partners representing after-school, pre-school or early learning, business and industry, parent organizations, to name a few. Twenty-three of the twenty-seven Orange County school districts, representing over 300,000 PK-12 students, have participated in the Institute.

Orange County High School Esports League: The Orange County High School Esports League connects the rapidly growing form of Esports entertainment (70 million worldwide watch esports*) with resilient, adaptive, and effective learning. Given the rich social context in which Esports play takes place and the opportunities for the development of technical expertise, we are launching this effort as a means to connect students’ interest in esports to sportsmanship, entrepreneurship, and STEM interests. The program is a collaboration funded by the Samueli Foundation in partnership with OCDE, Orange County STEM Initiative, Connected Camps, UCI Connected Learning Lab, UCI Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences, UCI Esports, UCI Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Alvarez & Marsal.

Mobile FABlab: A mobile fabrication space that provides students and educators with training, resources and support needed to engage in open-ended experiential STEM learning. The Mobile FABLab curriculum is aligned with academic standards that are developmentally age-appropriate with an emphasis on 21st century skills. It provides a versatile and collaborative space for experimentation with tools and technology. Finally, it is intended to expose students to a wider variety of STEM related careers and disciplines. It is a collaborative partnership between OC STEM, UCI and the Orange County Department of Education


  • Jamie Annunzio Myers, PBS SoCal
  • Kathy Bihr, Tiger Woods Foundation
  • Sergio Contreras, United Way Orange County
  • Cara Davidoff, OCTANe
  • Michelle Freeman, Samueli Foundation
  • Paula Golden, Broadcom Foundation
  • Kim Goll, Children and Families Commission of Orange County
  • Gwyn Grenrock, Allergan
  • JeffHittenberger, Orange County Department of Education
  • Dr. Lisa Kirtman, School of Education, California State University, Fullerton
  • Tamika Lang, Boeing
  • Christine Olmstead, Orange County Department of Education
  • Kelly Pijl, Children and Families Commission of Orange County
  • Gerald Solomon, Samueli Foundation
  • Tom Turner, Orange County Department of Education
  • Carla Vargas, United Way Orange County
  • Cheryl Vargo, Kaiser Permanente
  • Dr. Gregory Washington, Henry Samueli School of Engineering, UC Irvine
  • Jay Wertheim, Edwards Life Sciences