Grant Helps More Minority Students Graduate in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
The Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate is a partnership between St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Community College, and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.
TAMPA BAY – A new “bridge” is coming to Tampa Bay. However, instead of carrying harried commuters back and forth, this bridge will help underrepresented minority students move into high-demand baccalaureate programs in science, technology, engineering and math.
The Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate, a partnership between St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Community College, and State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, under its Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program, to increase the number of minority students transferring into a STEM program at the University of South Florida.
The three colleges typically see more than 400 of their minority students transfer into STEM programs at a four-year university every year. The partnering institutions will aim to boost that number by 50 percent over the three-year grant period.
“We are so honored to be a part of this partnership, which will give underrepresented, minority students opportunities to pursue baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields leading to high-wage jobs that can help end generational cycles of poverty,” said Dr. Tonjua Williams, SPC President. “We are grateful to the National Science Foundation and our educational partners for their commitment to equity and diversity in STEM fields – a commitment that is crucial to meeting the ever-evolving needs of the 21st Century workforce.”
A cohesive system of new activities, peer and faculty connections and academic supports will help the TB-B2B partner schools move the needle for STEM minority student engagement. The grant also will leverage existing connections through USF’s FUSE initiative, a guaranteed admissions program for students who complete their associate degree at a participating Florida College System institution.
“By preparing and retaining an underutilized talent pool for STEM careers, the LSAMP TB-B2B will have a significant impact on our local, state, and national workforce,” said Bernard Batson,
Director of Diversity and inclusion Programs at the USF College of Engineering. “We look forward to partnering with the program leaders and faculty on new efforts that will increase access and broaden participation of underserved students in STEM.”
SPC will serve as the lead of TB-B2B. Faculty and administrators from each of the partner institutions will work collaboratively with local school districts, STEM industry representatives and other educational institutions to ensure underrepresented minority students have the support, engagement and sense of “self” necessary to successfully pursue and complete a baccalaureate education in STEM.
“This Bridge to the Baccalaureate grant exemplifies the great partnerships that exist among our educational institutions in the Tampa Bay area,” said Dr. Jesse Coraggio, Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and Academic Services at SPC. “With this grant opportunity from the National Science Foundation, we can open doors and provide opportunity for underserved students by building line-of-sight pathways to baccalaureate STEM programs at our local State Colleges and the University of South Florida System schools.”
TB-B2B students will engage in undergraduate research and hands-on experiential learning opportunities, increasing their research knowledge base and exploration of STEM interests and careers. A four-year STEM degree leads to higher wages, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. STEM workers earn about 30 percent more than their non-STEM counterparts do.
“The Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate Alliance positions HCC and its partners to expand and enhance our efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate more students from underrepresented minorities with STEM degrees,” said James Wysong, Dean of Mathematics and Sciences at HCC. “A diverse scientific and technical workforce is critical to America’s future, and this alliance supports that goal.”
“We are delighted that the National Science Foundation has funded this Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation consortium grant. In our region and throughout the state, there is a critical need for a well-educated workforce with degrees in a STEM field,” said SCF President Dr. Carol Probstfeld. “In collaboration with our alliance partners, St. Petersburg College and Hillsborough Community College, this grant will help SCF to significantly increase the number of underrepresented minority students that are pursuing a STEM bachelor’s degree.”
Tampa Bay is fast becoming the epicenter of STEM industry and innovation within the state of Florida, and currently ranks as the state’s leading technology hub, according to the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation. Enterprise Florida estimates that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing job fields will require a STEM education, and projects the need for 120,000 new STEM workers by 2018 alone.
St. Petersburg College | National Science Foundation | USF | STEM Education | Education | Tampabay News
#StPetersburgCollege #NationalScienceFoundation #USF #STEMEducation #Education #TampabayNews