$1 Million National Science Foundation Grant Awarded to Cal Poly Pomona
National Science Foundation award will help retain and support high achieving students who are low-income or from historically under-represented communities in STEM fields
Pomona, CA – Representative Norma J. Torres announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $998,205 grant to Cal Poly Pomona to increase the retention, graduation, and career success of high achieving students who are low-income or from under-represented groups and pursuing undergraduate degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
“For too many students in the Inland Empire, the dream of higher education can feel out of reach,” said Torres. “This grant will help deserving young people pursue a high-quality STEM degree at Cal Poly Pomona in a supportive environment, without the worry of financial strain. It’s a critical investment to build up a diverse workforce that can take advantage of the high-skilled, high-demand jobs in our region.”
“Scientists preparing for today’s demanding work environment need both rigorous scientific training and career-specific skills. Additionally, the preparedness that individuals need to tackle psychological and organizational barriers in the workplace are essential to the retention of talent. This is particularly impactful with regard to women and URMs in STEM, who are more likely to leave the STEM fields even after graduation,” said Dr. Steve Alas, Director of Science Educational Enhancement Services in the Biological Sciences Department at Cal Poly Pomona. “The SPIRES program will include workplace psychology training that enables SPIRES participants to circumvent or mediate factors that contribute to workforce attrition.”
The Division of Undergraduate Education grant will fund 125 fellowships over a five-year period to students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Geological Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, or Physics and Astronomy. The project has the potential to serve as a pipeline of workforce-ready graduates into the region’s STEM workforce, including biotechnology, computer science, and engineering industries.
Torres is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for making decisions regarding federal spending.