NSF grant will support effort to strengthen STEM-education pathways for Latino students
UCI has received $100,000 from the National Science Foundation to fund a conference on strengthening pathways for Latino students in science, technology, engineering and math. The award comes shortly after the university’s designation as a Hispanic-serving institution by the U.S. Department of Education. As an HSI, it’s eligible for funding and grants to help support these students. UCI’s dedication to making college accessible for underrepresented youth has been recognized by The New York Times , which ranked it No. 1 among U.S. colleges “doing the most for the American dream.” Nevertheless, Latino undergrads still experience significant obstacles to completing their university education. Forty-two percent of non-Hispanic students who begin as biological sciences majors earn a degree in that field, but only 24 percent of Hispanic students do. Similarly, there’s an 11-percentage-point difference in engineering and a 10-percentage-point difference in physical sciences. This remaining gap motivated UCI to collaborate with other campuses to enhance undergraduate STEM education. “Serving underrepresented students is a core part of UCI’s mission and vision, and creating this HSI conference will bring together educational leaders to suggest best practices to the NSF on how to support research on improving STEM pathways for Hispanic students,” said Michael Dennin, vice provost for teaching & learning.