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CSUN and Harbor College awarded federal science and tech grants

October 4, 2011 |  2:00 pm

Two Southern California colleges have been awarded multimillion-dollar federal grants to increase the number of low-income and minority students studying science and technology.

Cal State Northridge received $5.5 million from the Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM program to boost the number of students who transfer from a community college and graduate with degrees in engineering and computer science. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The university will work with Glendale Community College and College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita to identify potential students who will receive tutoring, mentoring, research opportunities, career advice and stipends to help pay education costs.

Faculty from the three institutions will also collaborate on curriculum. Officials expect to graduate 120 students during the course of the five-year grant.

“This grant will have an enduring impact on the academic success and career choices of the talented youth in our region and, ultimately, we hope an enduring impact on the growth and health of California’s economy,” S.K. Ramesh, dean of the college of engineering and computer science at Northridge, said in a statement. “As these talented students, who represent minorities and women, matriculate to the university, they will in turn serve as role models for others in their communities.”

Los Angeles Harbor College, meanwhile, won a $4.3-million grant under the same program.

The five-year grant will be used primarily to help about 10,000 students increase math skills with fast-track remediation. The program has a goal of helping an additional 25 Latino students each year obtain associates degrees in science and technology majors and an additional 44 Latino students each year transfer to colleges and universities to obtain bachelor’s degrees in those fields.

The college is working to develop transfer arrangements with Cal State campuses in Dominguez Hills and Long Beach as well as Loyola Marymount University and UCLA.

“Los Angeles Harbor College is proud to be at the forefront of helping our students succeed in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and doing our part in addressing the U.S. worker shortage in math and science professionals,” Harbor College President Marvin Martinez said in a statement.

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-- Carla Rivera

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