College of the Canyons has received a $1,493,379 grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund a new scholarship program to increase retention, transfer, and graduation rates among science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors in key student populations, including Black, Latinx, women, first-generation college students, and low-income students.
Launching in fall 2022, the new Scholarship-STEM Equity Alliance (SEA) Scholars program will build upon the College’s successful Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) program to improve access to academic preparation support and student services.
“This is the second National Science Foundation grant the college has received this year, which is a testament to our innovative spirit, academic excellence and commitment to student success,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook. “STEM-based industries are helping to lead the economic recovery from the pandemic, so this award comes at the perfect time. This funding provided by the grant will play a crucial role in helping College of the Canyons to eliminate barriers for students interested in entering these competitive and ever-evolving fields.”
The SEA Scholars program will recruit, mentor, and support academically talented STEM students pursuing degrees in biology, biological sciences, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, and physics.
During the six-year grant period, 100 STEM students will receive financial and academic resources, including scholarships of up to $10,000 ($5,000 for two years). Student scholars will participate in five cohorts of twenty students each, with the ultimate goal of completing an associate degree and joining the STEM workforce or transferring to a four-year university.
“We are thrilled to receive this substantial grant from the National Science Foundation,” said Patricia Foley, the grant’s principal investigator and a chemistry professor at the college. “This award will help us create structures to provide our underrepresented students with the academic, social and financial capital that is necessary to pursue STEM careers.”
Students will also engage with faculty members through well-defined mentoring relationships and participate in STEM career exploration activities.
In addition, participating COC faculty will learn how to create inclusive, equitable, and culturally responsive STEM classrooms, which is a proven approach for heightening STEM achievement among low-income, underrepresented, and educationally disadvantaged students.
Created by NSF, the S-STEM program’s mission is to enable low-income and talented students to pursue successful careers in promising STEM fields.