Saint Peter’s Awarded $1.5 Million Grant by the National Science Foundation to Improve Retention and Graduation Rates for STEM Majors

Jersey City, N.J. – August 16, 2018 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that it has been awarded a five-year grant of $1.5 million by the National Science Foundation under the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education for Hispanic Serving Institutions program. Saint Peter’s received the award to support a five-year grant project, titled STEM Transformative Experiences (TREX). The project will provide high-impact internship experiences to STEM majors to enhance retention and graduation rates.

TREX was developed under the direction of Jeanette Wilmanski, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Saint Peter’s University; along with Jennifer Ayala, Ph.D., associate professor of education at Saint Peter’s University; Yosra Badiei, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Peter’s University; and John Ruppert, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Saint Peter’s University. The project will provide 45 off-campus internship experiences each year to low-income undergraduate students who are pursing STEM degrees.

“As our STEM programs are growing at Saint Peter’s, we want to ensure that our students not only complete their degrees, but secure jobs in the STEM fields after graduation,” said Dr. Wilmanski. “Our low-income students can face financial barriers that restrict their participation in internships, which are incredibly valuable to a career in STEM. The TREX project will provide these students with the opportunity to elevate their career aspirations and improve their chances of job placement in the future.”

Long recognized for its science programs, the University has been actively seeking new opportunities and resources to support the growing population of STEM majors and to enhance STEM programs. This latest grant is the third million dollar grant award to the University to support STEM education in the past two years. In October 2016, Saint Peter’s received its largest award in history, a five-year grant of $3.8 million from the U.S. Department of Education through its Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) STEM Program for a project to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students attaining degrees in the STEM field. In June 2017, the National Science Foundation awarded the University a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation for the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program to encourage and prepare future STEM educators.

“Saint Peter’s has become a leader in STEM education and we take great pride in the fact that we are being recognized on a national level for educating and graduating underrepresented students in the STEM fields,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “The University is deeply gratified to the members of our faculty for their work on this project and to the National Science Foundation for being selected as the recipient of this award.”

The grant from the National Science Foundation’s HSI Program was part of the first research awards issued under the program. Awards were granted for 31 projects totaling approximately $45 million. To learn more about the Saint Peter’s project and the other recipient institutions, please click here.

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