Cindy McKenzie, STEM Advantage co-founder and Deluxe Entertainment CIO, presented at Evanta’s Southern California CIO Executive Summit on “STEM-ing the Tide—Addressing Gender Equality in IT” and invited STEM Advantage scholars and alumnae to join her. Pictured are Alejandra Soto, McKenzie, Emily Sanchez and Danielle Yamane.


STEM Advantage—a nonprofit organization that funds college scholarships, and provides internships and mentors for women and underserved communities—announced that it has successfully expanded to Cal Poly Pomona this year. The award-winning program has reached over 6,200 students and plans to expand to all 23 California State University schools by 2023.

“When we launched STEM Advantage in 2012 at one college in South LA, we never imagined the impact it would have today,” said Lee Ann Kline, co-founder and president of STEM Advantage. “The program now has an unprecedented 100 percent graduation and hire rate post-graduation. The students we work with continue to prove that there is a pool of talented, diverse students at less prominent schools who deserve a chance to be recruited by top companies.”

STEM Advantage will celebrate the accomplishments of students and recognize scholarship donors at the 7th Annual Scholarship Gala. The event will be held April 27 at the California Science Center, Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion.

George L. Pla, founder, president and CEO of Cordoba Corporation, will be the keynote speaker. In 2012, Pla was responsible for transporting the Space Shuttle Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles. He is also on the board of trustees for the California Science Center and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

“We give often overlooked—and yet, remarkable—students a platform with paid internships to increase their confidence and experience,” said Marlo Donate, head of enterprise marketing and digital IT for Farmers Insurance Group, which works with STEM Advantage to provide internships and is a sponsor of the gala.

“The work of STEM Advantage levels the playing field and helps students who do not have access to the same opportunities and networks,” said Thomas Phelps IV, CIO of Laserfiche, and executive board member for Southern California, Society for Information Management (SCSIM), both of which are also sponsoring the gala. “As an IT leadership organization, SCSIM believes that STEM Advantage helps solves a critical talent shortage at our member companies, while helping well-deserving students.”

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About STEM Advantage

STEM Advantage’s mission is to mentor, prepare and inspire women and underserved communities to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. STEM Advantage provides scholarships and paid internships to help students graduate with less debt, along with pairing mentors with students who typically are first generation and low income college students. The program is currently offered to STEM students at California State University Dominguez Hills; California State University, Los Angeles; California State University, Long Beach; California State University, Northridge; and Cal Poly Pomona—with the strategic “23 by 2023” goal to expand to STEM students at all 23 California State University campuses by 2023.


Media Contact

Lee Ann Kline

Founder and President

STEM Advantage

(949) 322-3320

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