The Center for Science Excellence Program (CSE) of Contra Costa College is a strong program that helps science, mathematics and engineering students from traditionally underrepresented populations successfully transfer from two-year to four-year colleges. Contra Costa College is a two-year community college in an urban, disadvantaged area. The goal of the Center for Science Excellence program is for CCC students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities as science, mathematics or engineering majors. In fact, 80% of CSE's first class of has done so. The program has served 350 students since its inception six years ago.
The program provides multi-faceted mentoring for students, which is the heart of the program. The mentors are experienced scientists. Their mentoring activities include a wide range of academic tutoring, problem-solving workplace scenarios, mock interviews, and so on. Mentors have regular meetings together to share experiences and improve their mentoring methods. Several of the mentors work in area institutions such as Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories, and students often visit these places and/or engage in internships. As one professor said "the mentoring is consistent and regular rather than casual."