Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cuyamaca College nets $6 million STEM grant for Hispanic students

Students in Cuyamaca's STEM center
Cuyamaca College has been awarded a five-year, federal grant totaling nearly $6 million to boost the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates who transfer to the California State University and University of California systems.

 Cuyamaca College will receive nearly $1.2 million annually for the next five years through the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program, a program assisting Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Hispanic Serving Institutions are colleges or universities where Hispanics make up at least 25 percent of the school’s full-time equivalent students and that have adopted strategies to help low-income and Latino students. Nearly one in three students at Cuyamaca College is Latino, almost half of whom are low income and first-generation college students.

 “Cuyamaca College is proud to be at the forefront of instruction in the science, technology, engineering and math fields,” said Cuyamaca College President Julianna Barnes. “This grant will increase our capacity to serve our talented students and will ultimately have an enduring impact on the industry needs of our region, state and nation.”

 Among the grant’s highlights:

  • Creation of a summer boot camp for first-generation and academically at-risk STEM majors to build study skills, strengthen basic competencies, and provide hands-on research activities and mentoring.
  • A student coaching program providing mentoring for STEM majors to help ensure completion of their degrees and their transfer to a four-year college or university. In addition, trained learning assistants will be embedded in so-called high-risk courses to provide immediate help in class when needed.
  • Cuyamaca College will work with the California State University system and UC San Diego to develop seven associate degrees for transfer in STEM subjects. In addition, Cuyamaca will work with UC San Diego and CSU campuses to immerse students in STEM transfer activities aimed at infusing its students with a flavor for the four-year college experience.
  • Faculty training for adopting effective teaching practices to address low academic performance and retention. In addition, new STEM learning spaces and resources will be created to support academic achievement.
Science professors Kathryn Nette and Laurie LeBlanc said the new funding will allow Cuyamaca College to more effectively support the many Hispanic and low-income students in the science and engineering disciplines.

This is the second major Hispanic Serving Institutions grant Cuyamaca College has secured in the past two months. Cuyamaca College in August was awarded a nearly $2.6-million, five-year grant to expand educational opportunities and improve academic achievement among all Hispanic and low-income students. That grant will fund a new program dubbed The Pathway Academy, a new effort aimed at minimizing the times students spend in remedial classes, expanding student support services, and providing additional professional development for all faculty and staff.

Cuyamaca College was one of 38 colleges and universities notified this week that they will be receiving a Hispanic Serving Institutions STEM grant.

Cuyamaca College is home to some 9,000 students who can choose from 767 course sections and numerous career technical education programs.

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