$3 Million NSF Grant Helps Recruit Minority Students

February 14, 2008

$3 Million National Science Foundation Grant Helps Upstate Colleges Recruit Minority Students into STEM Fields

December 11, 2007

The National Science Foundation has awarded $3 million over five years to an alliance of upstate New York colleges and universities, administered by Syracuse University, to enroll and graduate more students from African American, Latino American and Native American (AALANA) populations from science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs.

In response to pressing local needs and national goals, the Upstate Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ULSAMP) was formed to attract and maximize the potential of students from AALANA populations. This will be achieved through a two-pronged approach—implemented across the alliance—that includes enhancing recruitment of both first-time freshmen and transfer students, and providing new opportunities to enhance the graduation rate of the targeted populations. Member institutions include Clarkson University, Cornell University, Monroe Community College, Onondaga Community College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Rochester Institute of Technology and Syracuse University.

As the lead institution, Syracuse University will administer the alliance and manage and assess the organizational structure to ensure an effective management, staffing, operation, and internal and external assessment of the Alliance and STEM education programs. As a partner, SU will be spending its portion of the program money on student participation support costs, such as student conferences, research and internship opportunities.

According to the NSF Science and Engineering Indicators, the gap in educational attainment between underrepresented groups and Caucasian students remains wide, especially in science and engineering fields. The ULSAMP offers the opportunity to reach 60,000 potential students across the member institutions, thus doubling the number of minority graduates from these targeted programs.

“There is a critical need to dramatically enhance our efforts to develop the next generation of innovators,” says Horace H. Smith, associate vice president and ULSAMP project director at SU. “Equally imperative is growing a workforce highly qualified for our knowledge-based economy that is representative of our nation’s demographics. These resources will allow us to develop intervention strategies spanning the entire collegiate educational pathway.”

NSF funds research and education in most fields of science and engineering that are administrated through formed alliances between universities and colleges. It does this through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations and other research organizations throughout the United States. The ULSAMP program is supported by the NSF HRD-0703452. For more information about ULSAMP, visit www.ulsamp.org.