STCC lands $3.4M grant to boost Hispanic science, technology, engineering and math graduates
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has been awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help Hispanic and low-income students obtain degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.
U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, today announced the funding package during a press conference at STCC.
Congressman Neal said, “Most jobs in the future will require a basic understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. That is why this federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Education is so important and timely. It will give Hispanic and low-income students an opportunity to learn the necessary skills that can lead to a successful career in the growing STEM industry. (STCC) President (John B.) Cook understands this, and that’s why I congratulate him and his team at STCC for securing this highly competitive grant. Because of their leadership, some of our region’s diverse student population are being given an extraordinary opportunity to receive a STEM-based education and find a good-paying job.”
STCC is the only community college in Massachusetts to receive the award from the DOE’s HispanicServing Institutions-STEM program.
We feel tremendously fortunate to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Education and are also very grateful for the support offered by Congressman Neal. STCC is open-eyed about student needs, and this grant helps us address complex challenges. We look forward to building diversity across our unique array of STEM programs, and this is a chance to both expand initiatives, while also trying new and creative approacheJohn B. Cook STCC President
Dr. Cook said, "We feel tremendously fortunate to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Education and are also very grateful for the support offered by Congressman Neal. STCC is open-eyed about student needs, and this grant helps us address complex challenges. We look forward to building diversity across our unique array of STEM programs, and this is a chance to both expand initiatives, while also trying new and creative approaches."
Only 11.4 percent of Hispanic students at STCC – and 14 percent of low-income students – major in STEM fields, said Dr. Arlene Rodriguez, vice president for Academic Affairs at STCC.
She said Hispanic and low-income students enter college with greater developmental math needs and have lower rates of retention and graduation. Students who are Hispanic and low income perform worse on all three measures than students who are only Hispanic or low income.
“I am pleased that we have been awarded this grant, which aims at providing greater possibilities for a bright future for Latinx and low-income students,” Dr. Rodriguez said.
Dr. Adrienne Smith, dean of the School of Engineering Technologies and Mathematics, said, "I am thrilled about the receipt of this grant award as this funding will provide the College with the necessary resources to increase the numbers of Hispanic and low-income students in STEM, thereby increasing their chances for employment in high-paying STEM careers."
The following are the main goals of the project:
- Increase the number of Hispanic/Low-Income students in STEM disciplines
- Increase pass and retention rates by redesigning developmental and gateway STEM coursework
- Provide student supports throughout degree program to encourage progression and completion
- Provide high-quality professional development for STEM faculty
Highlights of the project include:
- Hands-on STEM demonstrations for local middle and high school students
- An expansion of the method for assessing math placement for entering students
- A redesign of developmental math and entry-level chemistry curricula
- The hiring of two STEM advisors to conduct outreach and help transition STEM majors into the college
- The creation of a STEM Center as a centralized location for presentations, group study and tutoring
- Assessment software to support faculty work
- The funding of numerous professional development opportunities for faculty
STCC began planning for the grant in September 2015 with the formation of a HSI STEM planning committee.
To be eligible to receive the grant, colleges must have the federal designation of HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution). An HSI institution must have at least 25 percent Hispanic students making up the total student population.
With a Hispanic student population of 27.6 percent, STCC has officially been designated a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2013.
Additionally, 56 percent of STCC students receive federal Pell grants, which are limited to students with financial need.
About Springfield Technical Community College
Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC, an Achieving the Dream Leader College, offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, engineering, liberal arts, science and technology continue to provide the most economical options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of more than 8,500 day, evening, weekend and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.
For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@S_T_C_C).
Contact: Jim Danko, (413) 755-4812 or firstname.lastname@example.org