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Queens College Receives $5.6M U.S. Department of Education Grant to Prepare Sudents for STEM Careers

-- Grant Will Benefit 24,000 Students, Including a Significant Number from Hispanic
and Low-Income Families Who Are Traditionally Under-represented in the Sciences –

Flushing, NY, October 20, 2016 — Queens College (QC) has received a grant to partner with Queensborough Community College (QCC) on a new program to help students from traditionally under-represented populations prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—fields collectively referred to as STEM—where there is a dramatic need nationally for skilled professionals with college degrees. With $5.6 million in funding over five years, STEM Bridges Across Eastern Queens will serve approximately 24,000 students as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions – Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and Articulation Program.

The key goals of the project are to graduate more Hispanic and low-income students with STEM bachelor’s degrees and to smooth students’ transition from two-year to four-year colleges. Recognizing that current approaches in STEM education do not serve all students equally, the STEM Bridges project aims to produce a curriculum that will have a positive long-term impact on these under-represented populations. It is based on the latest research and is designed to enhance programs already in place at QC and QCC, both of which serve significant numbers of students from these backgrounds. Queens College has a student body that is more than 25% Hispanic and almost 40% low income, while Queensborough’s student enrollment is over 30% Hispanic and almost half its students are low income.

“This is a very innovative and transformational grant opportunity that will spark great growth in our STEM enrollment,” notes QC President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “And the beauty of this HSI grant is that it will help all students—not just Latinos and low-income students—because the curricular changes and programs developed will be open to all students here and at Queensborough. I am proud to say that our efforts at promoting the STEM fields at the college have already been rewarded, as over a third of our current undergraduates major in these important fields, and of those students, over half are minority students.

“We designed this project as a vehicle for strengthening the STEM pipeline in our community,” says Eva Fernández, QC’s Acting Assistant Provost who is co-director of the project along with Martin Klotz, QC’s Dean of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. “We’re situated in one of the world’s most diverse urban centers with a growing population of Hispanics. We also actively contribute to the vibrant tech, biomedical/allied health, and finance sectors in the NYC metro area. All of these areas need well-prepared college graduates with STEM degrees.” 

The grant will fund a faculty-driven approach to improve access and learning, as well as create a bridge between schools. Introductory courses that “land” students in STEM majors will be redesigned at both institutions, and a peer tutoring and mentoring infrastructure will be developed to improve learning and foster intellectual growth outside of the classroom. A group of faculty members and administrators from QC and QCC will dedicate itself to improving programs, policies, and practices in STEM education, with the goal of increased collaboration between STEM faculty at both schools. Another goal is to create a model that Queens College can use in its collaborations with other community colleges.
With this project, Queens College has officially become a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI). The U.S. Department of Education determines HSI eligibility based on a number of criteria, including the percentage of Hispanic students served by the institution. 
Queens College enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its nearly 19,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful, 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year in the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, as well as being ranked a U.S. News and World Report Best College and Forbes Magazine Best Value College thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs. Learn more at

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