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First Gentleman Christian J. Foster

Chris FosterChristian (Chris) Foster is Purdue University's director of Discovery Park K-12 programs that focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Previously, he served as Director of Undergraduate Research in the Bourns College of Engineering at UC Riverside from 2002 to 2007. Foster reported to the Associate Dean of Research and Undergraduate Student Affairs in the College. As a part of his assignment he oversaw the development of a program of undergraduate research that could be generalized over the entire university. To this point he organized an on-going seminar series for undergraduates that emphasized vital aspects of the research process and how to enter it. In addition, he organized two undergraduate research Web sites, one for the entire campus and one specifically for the College of Engineering.

He also participated in the writing of several grants to fund aspects of programs for undergraduates in research including campus REU’s and International REU’s. He received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to sponsor the 2005 Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR). Last year Foster helped organize the first annual UC Riverside campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium and first annual campus Undergraduate Research Journal.

Foster is an experienced science educator with over 30 years of teaching and research to his credit. He serves on several boards that work with science and engineering education. In Fall 2005, he served as chair for the Southern California Conference on Undergraduate Research hosted at UC Riverside. This conference annually brings over one thousand undergraduate researchers and their faculty mentors from over 90 universities together for a day of student oral and poster presentations.

At the University of California, Santa Barbara, Foster held the position of Academic Outreach Coordinator in the College of Letters and Science, where he developed and led a college-wide program of educational outreach and managed numerous other projects including the regional Directorship of the UC ArtsBridge Program. Previously, as deputy assistant director for education at NOAA, he led the establishment of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's White House Office for the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment program, known as GLOBE.

Foster holds a Master of Science Teaching degree from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. He completed all course requirements for the doctorate in science education at Pennsylvania State University, but left that institution to pursue career opportunities before completing his dissertation.