Saint Peter’s is Awarded its Largest Grant in University History to Support Attainment of STEM Degrees

Jersey City, N.J. – September 24, 2021 – Saint Peter’s University today announced that it has been awarded a nearly $4.8 million Title III Part F STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) from the U.S. Department of Education. The historic five-year grant was awarded for a project, titled STEM-PODER (to be able to), which is designed to increase the number and percent of students earning STEM degrees. The grant follows the success of the $3.8M SURGE grant, awarded in 2016, which has led to increases in the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining degrees in STEM at Saint Peter’s.

S-PODER is a student-centered, faculty-driven, holistic STEM student success initiative. The project involves five strategies, which include establishment of the Institute for STEM Experiential Learning, expansion of support in the STEM Engagement Center with wraparound services, upgrades to laboratories, classrooms and research facilities, significant faculty development opportunities and clear pathways for STEM transfer students from community colleges.

“Saint Peter’s is uniquely positioned to lead in STEM education because not only does our enrollment of STEM majors top the national average, but we are comprised a richly diverse student population, which is often underrepresented in STEM fields,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University. “The federal government continues to commit significant resources to improving STEM education in our country in order to prepare future leaders for the complex and dynamic fields of science and technology and to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. As a strong STEM institution throughout most of our 150-year history, Saint Peter’s is committed to actively seeking opportunities to strengthen our STEM programs and our position as a STEM destination institution in New Jersey.”

This award adds to the significant resources for STEM programs through federal grants. Saint Peter’s was awarded a $1.4 million grant in 2017 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Program to encourage and prepare K-12 educators to teach STEM. In 2018 Saint Peter’s also received the NSF’s first ever Hispanic-serving grant for $1.5 million to build STEM internship experiences through the TREX program. And earlier this year, the University received $750,000 from the NSF S-STEM program for STEM scholarships, mentoring and academic support.

“This latest grant will help build upon our strength in STEM fields—not sustaining our efforts, but accelerating them,” said Frederick Bonato, Ph.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Hands-on experience, enhanced facilities and bolstered STEM support programs will go far in helping students attain worthwhile careers.”

The grant application was co-led by Maryellen Hamilton, Ph.D., professor and chair of the psychology department, and Virginia Bender, Ph.D., special assistant to the president for institutional planning. Hamilton will serve as the grant project director.

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