CT State’s NSF Grant to Help Increase Underrepresented Students in STEM Fields
CT State Community College (CT State) announced it has received a $1M Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) grant award from the National Science Foundation to benefit three of its campuses in southern Connecticut.
CT State Housatonic will lead the “STEMConnect Bridge to the Baccalaureate (B2B)” project, designed to support and help increase the number of underrepresented students who complete associate degrees and continue on to four-year programs in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
Students and prospective students who attend CT State Gateway, Housatonic or Norwalk and are majoring in computer science, engineering, physics, biology, math or chemistry, or who have an interest in STEM fields, are welcome to apply for the program.
The three campuses in total have 7,764 underrepresented students and are among a larger population collegewide of approximately 17,030 Black, Hispanic/Latine, American Indians, Alaska and Hawaii Natives, and Native Pacific Islanders students.
“Harnessing the diverse talents of underrepresented populations and communities is essential to addressing complex global challenges such as health care disparities, environmental issues, and cybersecurity threats,” said CT State President John Maduko, M.D. “Embracing inclusivity in STEM ensures that every voice and talent helps drive the innovation that is vital for our collective future and a more equitable and resilient world.”
Based on national models, CT State Housatonic’s STEM Center of Excellence will be replicated at CT State Gateway and Norwalk during the project. The centers will enable students to work more directly with STEM faculty and be mentored and tutored by underrepresented alumni who are working in the field.
During the three-year grant, students will also have opportunities to participate in faculty mentor meetings, events, conferences, research opportunities, tour four-year college campuses, and meet academic requirements for the program. They will also learn about STEM articulation agreements that provide seamless transfer options.
“Working in this environment with a friendly network of professional support helps students see themselves in STEM,” said Robin Avant, CT State Housatonic’s campus dean of students and faculty, campus STEAM coordinator, and principal investigator of the three-year program, which will accept 45 students yearly across the three campuses. “The program will also provide valuable opportunities to explore science and technology careers through hands-on learning activities which will help them stay engaged and excited so that they continue on their path to graduation and a higher degree.”
According to the National Science Foundation website, LSAMP was designed to increase the participation of Blacks and African Americans, Hispanic and Latine Americans, American Indians, Alaska and Hawaii Natives, and Native Pacific Islanders in the STEM workforce. The main goal of the program is to increase STEM degrees in this traditionally underrepresented population.
CT State is home to the CT College of Technology, a consortium of all campuses of CT State and eight public and private universities that was formed through Connecticut legislation in 1995 to establish seamless pathways in engineering and technology. Among its goals are to bring together educators and industry, and to be responsive to workforce needs in Connecticut. It also provides seamless career pathways for students to earn certificates, associate of science and bachelor of science degrees in engineering and technology disciplines, with no loss of credit upon transfer.
About CT State
With the merger of the 12 Connecticut community colleges on July 1, CT State Community College is now the largest community college in New England. CT State students can apply once and take classes at any campus: Asnuntuck (Enfield), Capital (Hartford), Gateway (New Haven and North Haven), Housatonic (Bridgeport), Manchester, Middlesex (Middletown and Meriden), Naugatuck Valley (Waterbury and Danbury), Northwestern (Winsted), Norwalk, Quinebaug Valley (Danielson and Willimantic), Three Rivers (Norwich), and Tunxis (Farmington). Find out more at www.ctstate.edu.