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Students participating in the Arizona Science, Engineering and Math Scholars Program program visit the Xerocraft Makerspace in Tucson. (Photo: ASEMS)

Building a Bridge to STEM Degrees for Transfer Students

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Building a Bridge to STEM Degrees for Transfer Students

Sept. 13, 2019
Funding from the National Science Foundation will support scholarships for transfer students from Pima Community College seeking STEM degrees at the UA, and provide training for faculty and mentors.

A $4.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation will help create a stronger path for Pima Community College students who transfer to the University of Arizona to pursue bachelor's degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

Over five years, the grant will provide scholarships to 94 eligible students who are pursuing associate degrees at Pima Community College with the intention of transferring and completing Bachelor of Science degrees at the University of Arizona. Both schools are Hispanic-Serving Institutions, recognized for success in enrolling and supporting Hispanic students.

Regina Deil-Amen, professor of educational policy studies and practice in the UA College of Education and principal investigator on the grant, said a key benefit of the grant is that it can help diversify STEM talent pathways in Arizona, where there is a "disproportionate underrepresentation of people from the communities in which these STEM disciplines are supposed to be applied."

"It's important that the people who are doing the research, deciding what's important to invest in and applying their skills are connected to the communities and the populations that they're serving," Deil-Amen said.

Deil-Amen said there is a strong interest in STEM fields at Pima Community College, with more than 2,600 students enrolled in science-related associate degree programs. The grant will support UA students majoring in biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematical sciences, computer and information sciences, geosciences, and engineering.

"The demand for STEM workers will only grow over the coming years, and the University of Arizona has positioned itself as a leader in providing students from all backgrounds with opportunities to earn STEM-related degrees," UA President Robert C. Robbins said. "Creating pathways to the UA is a key element of our focus on student success, and increasing access and opportunity for transfer students is central to our strategy. This forward-thinking program positions the UA to be at the forefront of diversifying Arizona's talent pipeline in this crucial area."