Valencia, Seminole State and Lake-Sumter State colleges have won a $1.5 million grant to help boost the number of minority students who earn bachelor's degrees in so-called STEM fields. The three-year grant will pay for staff to advise and to help students navigate science courses and then prepare for transfers to four-year universities, officials said.
The grant from the National Science Foundation aims to help the colleges deal with the disproportionately low number of minority students who earn degrees in STEM fields, which are science, technology, engineering and math.
About 42 percent of the Valencia students who transfer to the University of Central Florida are black, Hispanic or members of other minority groups, excluding Asian students, college figures show. Yet less than 7 percent of the STEM majors who transferred to UCF from Valencia, Seminole and Lake-Sumter were students from those "under-represented" groups.
"Across the country, we have seen a disproportionately low number of minority students pursuing degrees in math, science and engineering," said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia College's Osceola and Lake Nona campuses and principal investigator for the grant, in a statement.
The grant will pay for advisers and other staff to help interested students take and succeed required science courses and plan for a successful transition to UCF or other four-year university.
"We will make them aware of STEM opportunities, encourage them to consider these areas of study and equip them with the tools they need to successfully pursue STEM fields that lead to high wage-high demand careers and bolster our national economy at the same time," said Charles Mojock, president of Lake-Sumter.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun