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The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust has turned to one of the country's largest public university systems in its drive to increase the number of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. The trust on Monday announced a $4.6 million grant to the California State University, which will fund the system's STEM Collaboratives, which work with new students from the summer before fall classes start through their first year of college.

From April through February 2017, the grant will help eight of the university’s campuses ramp up their collaboratives, in which students will participate in civic engagement, service learning and undergraduate research.

“Actively engaging first-generation STEM majors is the first step in creating professionals who solve the complex problems of today and transform the communities of tomorrow,” said Ephraim P. Smith, CSU's executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer.