Lehman College Takes On Leadership Role as CUNY Is Awarded $3.9 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Share on
Lehman College Takes On Leadership Role as CUNY Is Awarded $3.9 Million National Science Foundation Grant
Lehman College STEM; National Science Foundation Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a five-year, $3.97 million Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliance Implementation Project grant to 13 CUNY schools with Lehman College as the program sponsor, and Lehman President José Luis Cruz as the grant’s principal investigator and project director.

The CUNY alliance consists of nine senior colleges, three community colleges, and Macaulay Honors College. Lehman is responsible for overseeing the project.

The New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NYCLSAMP) program was first funded to be run by CUNY in 1992, and is designed to significantly increase the number of underrepresented minority students graduating with high quality degrees in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering.

Under the leadership of President Cruz, the Lehman-led NYCLSAMP program will broaden student recruitment efforts and encourage closer faculty collaboration across colleges. Other objectives include providing effective research, training, and academic support to STEM majors, and to prepare NYCLSAMP students for graduate school and STEM careers.

"Receiving this grant is very exciting," said President Cruz. "The NYCLSAMP program has a long tradition of providing access to quality education programs and life changing opportunities for CUNY students. With this new grant, even more underserved minority students will have the opportunity to participate and work towards STEM careers that will enrich their lives and also transform the lives of the people they will be serving. The impact of these students in their respective industries, companies and organizations, given the support from the NSF and Louis Stokes Alliance, is incalculable."

The new NYCLSAMP program will have two faculty coordinators on each campus who will design, operate and oversee the project. A grant-funded director will coordinate intercampus operations. Serving as CO-Principal Investigators are Dr. Sarah Bonner, associate professor of educational psychology at Hunter College, Dr. Scott Evenbeck, the president of Guttman Community College, Dr. Gustavo Lopez, professor of physical chemistry at Lehman College, and Dr. Gilda Barabino, the Daniel and Frances Berg Professor and Dean of the Grove School of Engineering at The City College of New York.

"At CUNY, we take enormous pride in the University’s history of helping generations of low-income, underserved and immigrant students succeed," said Interim Chancellor Vita C. Rabinowitz. "Even as perhaps the most racially and ethnically diverse university in the world, CUNY's commitment to campuses that are inclusive and diverse has never been more central to its mission. This grant helps the University build on that extraordinary legacy in new and exciting ways, creating opportunities for the growing numbers of CUNY students interested in STEM careers."

Students in the program will be divided into three groups: Apprentice, Associate Fellow, and Fellow. In their freshman year, 30 Apprentices will be selected on each campus, with ten becoming Fellows in their sophomore year. The Fellows will be awarded research stipends of $1,500 to offset equipment and materials costs, and travel to STEM related conferences. The 20 students not chosen as Fellows will continue in the program as Associate Fellows, and both will receive peer mentoring and attend workshops. The goal will be to double the level of graduation rates to 360 NYCLSAMP students per year throughout the participating institutions.

In their freshman year, Apprentices will attend seminar courses, learn about scientific writing, poster presentations, and research proposal preparation. Sophomore Fellows will gain research experience thought mentoring by faculty coordinators, and through peer mentoring and tutoring.

"LSAMP has been an integral part of the CUNY STEM initiative, and under an administrative team at Lehman College, we will be entering a new phase of the program," said Laura Oliveira, the initiative’s project director. "We are particularly excited to implement a new model of early intervention, whereby students are recruited during the first year and receive support for research in their second year, much earlier than in other research-focused programs. Being exposed to the research environment early on and continuing with supports throughout their college careers, means LSAMP students will be more likely to remain in STEM, graduate from college, and be better prepared in their respective fields"

In addition to Lehman and Macaulay the other participating schools are Hostos Community College, Bronx Community College, Guttman Community College, Baruch College, CCNY Engineering, City Tech, Medgar Evers, College of Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens College. Hunter College will not be hosting Fellows, but will participate by staffing the social science component of the project. That component is to investigate STEM practices that increase persistence and retention to degree completion in STEM majors for an underserved student population.

According to the NSF, the 2018-2023 NYCLSAMP mission will be "program activities that will provide evidence-based interventions such as faculty engagement, professional development, advising, curricular design and research experiences to stimulate learning and strengthen academic and research design skills to attract, engage, recruit and retain community college and four year undergraduate students in STEM to degree completion."