National Science Foundation award will help promote and retain newly hired historically underrepresented minority faculty in STEM fields
Pomona, CA — Today, U.S. Representative Norma J. Torres (D-Pomona) announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $310,588 grant to Cal Poly Pomona to promote, recruit, and retain underrepresented minority Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) faculty to address the achievement gap between minority and non-minority undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty members often serve as role models and academic leaders for students to learn from, work with, and emulate.
“The faculty at Cal Poly Pomona plays a powerful role in the lives of students pursuing degrees. They’re more than just teachers—they’re mentors who guide young leaders through challenges in and outside of the classroom,” said Torres. “This grant will help bolster diversity in STEM education, provide faculty with the support to succeed, and give students the representation they need to see that a future in these fields is a real possibility for them.”
“It is important that our faculty reflect the diversity of our students,” said Dr. Victoria Bhavsar, Director of the Faculty Center for Professional Development. “This important work will help Cal Poly Pomona retain excellent faculty, and in turn, our STEM students will be better equipped for their own futures and for addressing the big issues in California’s future.”
Dr. Bhavsar continued, “I would like to thank Congresswoman Torres in her role on the House Appropriations Committee in supporting funding for the NSF, which makes funding for programs like these possible.”
The funding for the grant is made possible through the NSF’s Alliances for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) program. The AGEP program provides trainings about culturally-informed strengths and identity, senior faculty mentoring, peer coaching and networking, and grant proposal writing trainings. Advancing the careers of minority faculty ultimately leads to improved academic mentorship for students from underrepresented groups.
Torres is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for appropriating federal spending.