Saint Xavier University recently received a $1.46-million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), making the award the first NSF grant SXU has received as a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI). The funding is also the largest NSF award in the school’s history.
As a participating school in the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program, SXU’s five-year grant will support underserved students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“We are honored for the opportunity to expand STEM education for our undergraduate students. With this support, we will be able to offer more high-impact learning experiences along with the academic support students need to stay on track to complete their studies toward a career in a STEM field following graduation,” said SXU President Dr. Laurie M. Joyner. “It is because of our committed SXU community that our institution continues to actualize its mission of educating the underserved for lives of meaning and career success.”
Hispanics account for 6 percent of the nation’s STEM workforce, the school said. SXU’s status as an HSI comes as Hispanic students make up 38 percent of its student population.
Using the NSF funding, the university will develop a STEM Studio in the science wing that provides students with experiential learning and graduate school preparation, in addition to “continuous academic support, peer and faculty mentorship, field experience and other opportunities that will create a community of STEM scholars,” according to officials.
Dr. Robin Rylaarsdam, dean of SXU’s College of Arts and Sciences, said the award provides the university an opportunity to broaden the “STEM employee pool” by “training our students to become competitive prospects for gainful employment.”
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