Mercy College gets $700,000 STEM grant – The Journal News

Mercy College has been awarded a nearly $700,000 federal grant to create a five-year program to help Latino and low-income students complete STEM coursework.

The funding, from the U.S. Department of Education, is part of a national push to create science-savvy, job-ready graduates by beefing up studies in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. Last year, President Barack Obama pledged to invest more than $3 billion in federal STEM education programs across the country.

The $696,572 grant will be used to establish Team STEM with Westchester Community College. The partnership aims to help Hispanic and economically challenged undergraduates complete a bachelor’s degree within six years in one of six disciplines offered at Mercy: biology, psychology, mathematics, computer science, computer information science and cybersecurity.

“We are a proud Hispanic-serving institution, and these dollars will allow Mercy College to open the minds of so many of our students,” said Tim Hall, president of Mercy College. “With knowledge and motivation, the possibilities are endless.”

Christian Castillo, a Mercy College senior and biology major, said his experience with the college’s STEM summer research program “solidified my ambition to continue scientific research, as I quickly came to fall in love with the work.”

Sharp STEM skills hold promise not only for students, but also for the region’s economy.

In the Lower Hudson Valley, there are more than 2,500 unfilled positions in fields that require a STEM education, such as health care and software engineering, according The Westchester County Association.

“Educating more students in STEM fields is one of the most productive steps we can take to strengthen our economy,” said U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, who helped secure the grant. “I’m pleased that Mercy College and Westchester Community College are using these federal dollars to address a growing need for STEM professionals in the Hudson Valley.”

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