The second round of seed funding from Stanford’s Office of Community Engagement (OCE) will support projects aimed at helping reduce the impacts of COVID-19 affecting communities in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

The Teen Health Van on a stop at Los Altos High School. The seed funding will enable more service days in the van’s stops around the county, providing vaccinations to its core focus: teens and young adults. On the left is the lead faculty member for the project, Dr. Arash Anoshiravani, and to his right is Rosa Maldonado, clinic manager and medical assistant for the van. (Image credit: Douglas Peck Photography)

The funded projects, announced today, range from a frontline response project that assists Santa Clara County’s Health Department in assessing COVID-19 outbreaks to expansion of hours for a mobile van bringing vaccines and essential supplies to teens and young adults living in underserved neighborhoods. The education- and health-related projects are co-created with community organizations and led by Stanford faculty, often with the involvement of staff and students.

“Stanford’s ties with regional partners allow us to more effectively deploy our expertise and resources to address these urgent challenges,” said Megan Swezey Fogarty, associate vice president for community engagement. “Our commitment to co-created engagement and the strength of relationships are key to these collaborative efforts.”

These awards mark the second year of OCE seed funding, which is designed to help deepen Stanford’s work with community collaborators by increasing support for the projects. This year, the projects came from the areas of health and education. They span six of seven Stanford schools, with faculty representing Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Education; Engineering; Humanities and Sciences; Law; and Medicine. Awardees were selected by an interdisciplinary faculty and staff committee, and committee members evaluated projects on the basis of measurable community impact and demonstrated co-creation with community collaborators.

The projects came from shared proposals emanating from Stanford faculty and leaders in local schools, public health, civic organizations and community colleges, all leveraging Stanford knowledge in research or capacity-building to serve those closest to the need.

“A wonderful component of OCE’s work is its focus on finding ways to invest in engagement that draws on Stanford capabilities, so that we can tackle problems together that are meaningful to people’s lives,” said Jeremy Weinstein, faculty director of Stanford Impact Labs.

Two health-related projects include one to bring vaccinations to where underrepresented populations of teens live and another to assess data-driven tools to detect COVID outbreaks. The community collaborators include the Santa Clara County Office of Education, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department and the San Mateo County Department of Public Health.

The education projects span elementary schools to community colleges, where they aim to improve tutoring effectiveness, assess reading ability remotely, and provide internships that support community college students and introduce them to emerging fields. The four projects include collaborators from Ravenswood City School District, KIPP Schools of Northern California, Mission College and Foothill College.

“It is invaluable to have these kinds of partnerships because they can change lives,” said Bernadine Chuck Fong (BA ’66, MA ’68, PhD ’83), acting president of Foothill College. “Two projects put community college students in research settings where they can explore and discover pathways to careers they either didn’t know existed or they might be interested in.”

Project Descriptions

Assessing Communication Impacts on Student Reading
Faculty: Rebecca D. Silverman, Graduate School of Education
Community Collaborator: Ravenswood City School District

Ravenswood Reads is a tutoring and mentoring service-learning program at the Haas Center for Public Service. Founded in 1982, the program is a collaboration between the Haas Center, the Graduate School of Education and the Ravenswood City School District. Stanford students are taught to support the literacy development of students in kindergarten through third grade, drawing on cutting-edge Stanford research and models. Building on the in-person approach used for decades, the proposed study investigates research questions such as: Does text-message communication with teachers, parents and guardians about tutoring have an effect on children’s reading development? What kinds of communication most facilitate fruitful connections across tutoring, home and school contexts? As tutoring adapts to hybrid mode, OCE funding will support research, data analysis and materials.


Data-Driven Tools to Modernize COVID Outbreak Detection
Faculty: Daniel E. Ho, School of Law and School of Humanities and Sciences, with Jenny Suckale, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences
Community Collaborator: Santa Clara County Department of Public Health

The Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and Stanford’s RegLab and Future Bay Initiative developed a partnership in 2020 around COVID-19 response. The collaboration helped to pilot, test and scale interventions to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County and brought modern machine learning and data science to frontline COVID-19 response, with a particular view toward the impact on vulnerable populations. Now RegLab and the county’s public health department will assess contact tracing efforts for COVID-19 and data-driven tools for outbreak detection based on genomic sequencing data. OCE funding will support this assessment.


Digital Assessment System to Explore New Approaches of Literacy Development
Faculty: Jason Yeatman, Graduate School of Education and School of Medicine
Community Collaborator: KIPP Schools of Northern California

The Brain Development & Education Lab at Stanford University has developed a new, automated reading assessment tool that runs in a web browser and allows children to quickly complete a reading assessment in the classroom or from home on a personal computer. The goal of this proposal is to craft this tool to meet the assessment challenges of partner schools in both counties. The lab will build out a full-featured dashboard of assessments that can be quickly administered and provide interactive reports to teachers and school administrators. OCE funding will support a graduate research assistant and web development to build and refine the dashboard through a tightly connected research-and-design cycle to support the schools’ students, teachers and administrators.


Equity Forward Local Impact Labs University Collaborative
Faculty: Jeremy Weinstein, School of Humanities and Sciences
Community Collaborator: Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Joint Venture Silicon Valley

Equity Forward seeks to tackle the drivers of systemic inequity in Silicon Valley that have left the bottom quartile of the region – disproportionately Black and Brown communities and the undocumented – unable to achieve financial well-being, stable housing and upward economic mobility. This effort will examine upward mobility for individuals as well as broader systems change to address the racial wealth divide. OCE is supporting Stanford Impact Labs in convening 14 higher education institutions in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to co-design and launch a region-wide grant-making program addressing economic and racial inequity.


Student Rachelle Salmani of Mission College works on a tool called a laser cutter, which uses lasers to cut designed patterns into materials. An intern at the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility in fall 2021, Salmani sought firsthand knowledge of the development of technology that could be used to address public health issues. (Image credit: Maurice Stevens)

Micro-Internships with nano@stanford
Faculty: Debbie Senesky, School of Engineering
Community Collaborator: Foothill College

nano@stanford is partnering with Foothill College’s Science and Learning Institute to introduce Foothill STEM faculty and students to the field of nanotechnology and its ubiquity in STEM research. This project creates an opportunity to engage an untapped population of students with the STEM research community, allowing students to explore research careers while addressing the well-documented need for diverse local technical talent. Foothill STEM instructors and students will experience the innovation environment of state-of-the-art, open-access facilities, like the Stanford Nanofabrication Facility and Stanford Nano Shared Facilities, where university researchers, start-up companies and industrial users have access to staff expertise and precision instrumentation. OCE funds will support micro-research internships for up to 30 students. Outcomes from this program will serve as a model for nano@stanford’s workforce development programs across the Bay Area.


Mobile Teen Vans for Youth COVID Vaccination
Faculty: Arash Anoshiravani and Grace Lee, School of Medicine
Community Collaborator: SCC Office of Education and SMC Department of Public Health

The Stanford Children’s Health Teen Van is a mobile clinic offering free health services to uninsured and underinsured youth and young adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Teen Van has played a critical role in responding to community needs, initially by providing access to COVID-19 tests to children and adults. Most recently, the Teen Van has been ensuring access to COVID-19 vaccines for all approved ages, as well as continuing its medical, mental and reproductive health services. OCE funding will cover an extra 6.5 mobile clinic days over six months to extend its reach to individuals and communities hit hard by the pandemic.


Social Science Research Assistant Internship Program for Community College Students
Faculty: Gabriella M. Harari, School of Humanities and Sciences
Community Collaborator: Foothill College and Mission College

The Stanford Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRiSS) and Stanford Media and Personality (MAP) Lab are partnering with Foothill College and Mission College to support positive academic outcomes among community college students who are underrepresented in higher education. The project aims to obtain a better understanding of the particular challenges facing community college students from vulnerable populations in the Bay Area who have been especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. OCE funds will remove barriers to participation by supporting up to 20 community college research assistants who will be interns and/or staff within the program in 2022. As a core part of the project, the students will play an important role in a participatory research study focused on understanding how everyday digital media can be harnessed to reach their goals.