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Alexander Zwissler (Photo courtesy Chabot Space & Science Center)

Gateways East Bay STEM Network appoints new co-chair

  • January 16, 2013
  • MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Stanek, CSUEB University Communications, (510) 885-2036 or sarah.stanek@csueastbay.edu
  • or Autumn King, Chabot Space & Science Center, (510) 336-7306

The Gateways East Bay STEM Network announced Friday that Alexander Zwissler, executive director and CEO of Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, has been named the new co-chair of the network. He joins Dr. Leroy M. Morishita, president of California State University, East Bay, in leading the collaborative efforts of the leadership hub for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.

The network’s mission is to improve educational outcomes in STEM for students across Alameda and Contra Costa counties. It is part of the Gateways Cradle to Career Workforce Development Partnership, founded in 2009 to promote academic and economic development with the region.

“I am honored to take on this exciting role. I look forward to working with Dr. Morishita to continue the impactful work of Gateways’ leading efforts to expand the reach of STEM learning opportunities for students in our communities,” said Zwissler.

Morishita added, “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Alex Zwissler, who has a wealth of experience with the kind of hands-on learning and technological advances that are so critical to teaching STEM for the 21st century.”

Zwissler has held his position at Chabot since 2007, leading expansion and development of new programs in the fields of STEM education, professional development and climate change education. He was executive director of the Fort Mason Foundation in San Francisco from 1999 to 2006 and previously worked as an executive in the cable television and telecommunications industry in both the US and the UK.

He currently serves in the leadership of both local and national non-profits, and is currently on the Board of Directors of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, Techbridge and the San Francisco Market Street Railway. In 2012, he was appointed to the statewide Education and Technology Task Force by California’s superintendent of education.

The network is sponsored by Chevron, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and the San Francisco Foundation, among other donors, and is facilitated by Cal State East Bay’s Institute for STEM Education. Dr. Stephanie Couch serves as director of the Gateways partnership and is the Bayer Executive Director of CSUEB’s Institute.

“Network partners are working to engage students early and often in STEM learning in ways that capture students' hearts and minds,” Couch said. “Having the executive director of an incredible entity like the Chabot Space and Science Center, which specializes in communicating STEM to students and families, will help ensure that we really connect with those we want to reach.”

More than 30 partners from business, education, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations are participating in the work of three primary action groups, addressing STEM in out-of-school time, early STEM learning and professional opportunities for STEM teachers.

Zwissler will work with network representatives to connect employers, educators, policymakers, funders and businesses. “I welcome the chance to work with key community leaders and look forward to furthering the mission of improving educational outcomes in STEM amongst local youth,” he said.

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