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Herkimer College awarded prestigious National Science Foundation grant to help underrepresented students in STEM

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Herkimer County Community College has been awarded a prestigious grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to better serve underrepresented minority students pursuing a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree.

The grant was awarded through the NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and is part of an overarching goal to diversify the STEM workforce. The College’s allotment under the nearly $2 million grant is $242,381 over a five-year period.

The College was awarded these funds in partnership with six other regional colleges—Ithaca College, Utica College, State University of New York at Cortland, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and Tompkins Cortland Community College—a coalition known as the Central New York LSAMP Alliance (CNYLA).

As one of only two community colleges in the CNYLA, Herkimer College’s role is to recruit underrepresented students for two-year STEM degree programs, help those students master college-level academic skills, stay on track for completing their STEM associate degrees on time, and provide comprehensive support services to help them be academically successful while also developing a strong sense of identity and belonging as both college students and STEM scholars.

Thanks to the CNYLA, LSAMP scholars will have a specialized transfer path to one of the participating four-year schools, in addition to the more than 150 articulation agreements Herkimer College already provides.

“With the LSAMP scholars cohort, we can take a student all the way from their associate degree to a doctorate in STEM,” said Dr. Jennifer Adjodha-Evans, Herkimer College’s LSAMP campus facilitator. She also serves as one of only three principal investigators for the CNYLA and is an alumna of an LSAMP “Bridges to Doctorate” program.

Herkimer College LSAMP scholars will develop their research skills by designing, conducting, and reporting on their own original undergraduate research projects, and will participate in various STEM career awareness and readiness programs. There will also be a mentorship component and specialized transfer support to help LSAMP scholars move on to bachelor’s and eventually graduate-level STEM degree programs.

As part of the CNYLA, LSAMP scholars will also participate in collaborative programming with the other members of the alliance, such as an annual alliance-wide symposium.

“This program hits all of the core values of Herkimer College, and then some,” Adjodha-Evans said. “We’re creating another opportunity for success that these students may not have had access to otherwise.”

For more information about Herkimer College’s STEM program and to request information on the LSAMP scholars program, go to herkimer.edu/stem.