Senator Portantino Secures $4.5M for Glendale Community College Virtual Reality & STEM Pilot Project

Thursday, November 9 2023

For Immediate Release: November 9, 2023

Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400


Senator Portantino Secures $4.5M for Glendale Community College Virtual Reality & STEM Pilot Project

Glendale, CA – This week State Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) joined Glendale Community College (GCC) leaders, local educators, advocates, and Dreamscape Learn to celebrate a $4,500,000 state grant the Senator secured for the Glendale College Foundation. The funds will be used for a pilot project through a partnership with Dreamscape Learn to offer GCC & Glendale Unified School District students an in-person immersive learning experience that will be taught in a new state-of-the-art Virtual Reality Center. Glendale is the country’s first community college to offer introductory science courses that incorporate VR-enabled instruction.

“We are lucky to have Glendale Community College in the 25th Senate District and take pride in the world class education it provides to students in our district, as well as the difference it makes in the lives of countless families,” stated Senator Portantino. “This new investment presents a really exciting and original way to learn – whether we’re preparing future biologists, screenwriters, or elementary school teachers. I’m proud that Glendale Community College is not only thinking about how these learning experiences can benefit their college students, but is also working to offer the experiences to local high school students, too.”

Senator Portantino’s $4.5M request in the 2022-2023 state budget will fund a five-year pilot program to demonstrate the use and benefits of virtual reality in science classes, general creativity, and immersive education. The project aligns with GCC’s commitment to exploring innovative learning experiences that meet the needs of incoming students who are well-versed in modern technology. GCC will extend the benefits of immersive learning into the broader Glendale community by enabling dual-enrollment students from local high schools to participate in the courses that will incorporate Dreamscape Learn courseware.

“As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and technology-driven, this investment marks a decisive step towards encouraging more diverse STEM enrollment and success while equipping students with the necessary skills to excel in an ever-evolving global landscape,” said Dr. Ryan Cornner, Superintendent/President of Glendale Community College. “We’ve been really impressed by the results at Arizona State, and are excited to bring this powerful educational experience to our campus. We’re grateful for Senator Portantino’s unwavering dedication to fostering innovation in the classroom.”

Scheduled to open in 2024, the Virtual Reality Center will be located on GCC’s Verdugo Campus between the college’s renowned Planetarium and a new 116-thousand square foot science building. The three buildings form an “innovation alley” offering GCC students a modern in-person learning experience. The $4.5M in state funding will be administered by the Glendale College Foundation during the initial 5-year project.

GCC students will use Dreamscape’s immersive biology lab curriculum to act as biologists solving real-life science problems in a complex world of novel creatures and ecosystems. GCC will also have access to the Dreamscape Learn tools for building new immersive environments in important academic programs including architecture, history, and other disciplines.

“Storytelling is the age-old bridge between knowledge and imagination. Our large-scale implementations at ASU have made clear that using VR to immerse students in compelling cinematic narratives is driving new levels of motivation and persistence,” said Walter Parkes, co-founder and chairman of Dreamscape Learn. “We are thrilled to be partnering with Glendale Community College, which has been at the forefront of preparing students for both academic and work-force success across Los Angeles and beyond.”

About Glendale Community College:

Glendale Community College has served the Glendale community and greater LA Metro region for 96 years. The dynamic institution offers college credit at the Verdugo Campus, continuing education at the Garfield Campus, and customized employment training at the Professional Development Center (PDC) located in Montrose. The college serves an ethnically diverse student body of more than 15 thousand students with a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility with one of the region’s top transfer rates to four-year universities. The GCC Promise Plus provides first time, full-time students with two years free tuition making it a strategic choice for students focused on obtaining a valuable yet affordable four-year college degree.

About Dreamscape Learn:

Dreamscape Learn is a collaborative venture between Dreamscape Immersive and Arizona State University, merging the most advanced pedagogy with the entertainment industry's best emotional storytelling. Dreamscape Learn redefines how we teach and learn in the 21st century, while aiming to eliminate student learning gaps.