Welcome to the Center for Science Excellence website, and thank you for your interest in our program. We hope you can find everything you need to know about CSE, including: our mission and goals, our faculty and staff, and why and how to apply.

CSE students

Please check our Activities calendar in Physical Science (PS-109) frequently or you may miss exciting events.

Do not hesitate to contact us if you do not find answers to all your questions. We are here to help you.

CSE Program Director
Dr. Seti Sidharta
Telephone: (510) 215-4005
Interoffice:  ext. 44005

Brenda Vega
Student Assistant
Telephone: (510) 215-4004
Interoffice:  ext. 44004

CSE Faculty

CSE Office:

CSE office is located in the Physical Science building room 109 at
Contra Costa College.

Here are a  few links to Contra Costa College science departments that may be of interest to CSE students:


Biological Sciences


Earth Science




CSE students

What are the Benefits of Joining CSE?

Upon joining CSE, students receive:

  •  a safe learning environment and study area in Physical Science 107 and 109
  •  academic and career mentoring by CCC professors and professionals
  •  faculty led workshops in chemistry, physics and mathematics
  •  peer tutoring in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering
  •  opportunities for community service
  •  seminars or presentations by field professionals
  •  academic trips to places with science and technology emphasis
  •  information on scholarships and research internship opportunities
  •  monthly stipends for two academic years ($312.50/month, 10 months/academic year) when funding is available

Do You Qualify for CSE? 

All CCC students majoring in biological, physical and computer science, mathematics, engineering and technology at Contra Costa College are invited to participate in the CSE program and take advantage of the benefits listed above (# 1-8).

  •  enroll at CCC full time and take courses as laid out in the educational plan drawn by the counselor
  •  plan to transfer to four year schools and obtain a bachelor degree in science, mathematics, engineering or a certification in technology within three years
  •  commit 9 hours per week in a combination of academic activities (3 hours mentor meeting, academic workshops when available, 2 hour tutoring and studying)
  •  maintain academic satisfactory status
  •   be eligible for fee waivers (determined through the Financial Aid application   process, contact its office at CCC), as mandated by our funding agency

About CSE

CSE, a 2001 Presidential (White House) Award winning program, resides within the Natural, Social and Applied Sciences Division or (NSAS) at Contra Costa College.  The CSE program provides  financial and academic support for students majoring in biological, computer and physical science, technology, mathematics or engineering (STEM fields) at the college. In its seventeenth year, CSE has received more than $ 6 million from various resources including the U.S. Army Research Office, National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education (DoEd), University of California Office of President MESA program (UCOP-MESA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture. The funding pays for student assistant, financial support, summer research internships, supplies and materials, and academic related activities.

What are the mission and goals of CSE?

The mission of CSE resonates with the national call for increasing the number of students from the financially and academically disadvantaged groups in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  In order to achieve this mission, the CSE is committed to the following goals:

  • provide strong academic support in biological, computer and physical science, technology, engineering and mathematics via mentoring, workshops and tutoring
  • provide assistance in preparation for a seamless transfer process to universities
  • provide academic breadth activities through seminars, trips and summer  internships

Who participates in CSE?

Since its inception in 1996 until spring 2014, more than 900 students have participated in the program, 704 students participated fulltime in all program activities and received financial support. Most students participated and received support for two years. About 45% of the participants are females. The program participants include 14% are African Americans, 36% Asians (including Filipinos), 25% Hispanics, 5% Pacific Islanders, 1% Native Americans, 15% Caucasians, and 4% others. Almost all of the students are first-generation college students and qualify for federal financial aid or Board of Governors Fee Waiver.

Of the total 704 participants, 683 are alumni (93%) and 17 students (7%) continue to participate in fall 2014.  Of the 683 alumni, 649 (95% of alumni) transferred to four year schools and about 5 % of the alumni withdrew from the program due to various reasons including relocation, family, work, etc.  Of the 649 transferred students: 350 (54%) transferred to Universities of California (UC), 175 (27%) to California State Universities (CSU), 26 (4%) to private and out-of-state State Universities, and 10% are unknown. The unknown is due to old and inconclusive data. See Chart I for our alumni data.


Of the 350 UC transfers: 54% transferred to UC Berkeley, 33% to UC Davis, and the rest (13%) to UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC Irvine. Of the 175 CSU transfer students: 46% transferred to San Francisco State, 23% to CSU East Bay, 22% to San Jose State, 4% to CalPoly, and the rest (5%) to Long Beach, Sacramento, Chico, and Bakersfield. The private universities include Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia. See the pie chart below for the transfer students. See Chart II and III


Of the 704 participants: 41% major in biological science, 11% in computer science, 11% in physical science, 28% in engineering, 4% in Math, and 5% in others. See Chart IV for distribution of majors.

From 1997 to 2014, a total of 158 students had participated in summer internships: 82 placements were at universities (UC Berkeley, UC Davis, CSU East Bay and Stanford); 50 were at national labs (Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, US Dept. of Agriculture), and 26 were at private sector hospitals and engineering companies.

Students worked for eight to ten weeks in research labs and they returned from their summer internships energized, more determined, and more focused on their education.  The 50 students placed at the national labs were supported by the Department of Energy’s Community College Initiative and the National Science Foundation Supplemental Funding. The students working for other places were supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Education (MSEIP, Title III F HSI STEM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. See Chart V for the distribution of internship placement.



Where is CSE located?

CSE office is located in the Physical Science building room 109 at Contra Costa College.

See the campus map and contact information