Stevens starts STEM program aimed at underserved H.S. students

Stevens Institute of Technology is launching a program to help underserved students and underrepresented minorities get STEM-related jobs.

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics is a growing field.

The Hoboken school’s ACES program, Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science, will include financial support for these students.

The 2017-18 launch will include New Jersey public, charter and Catholic schools in Newark, Paterson, Hoboken and Jersey City, as well as Brooklyn, New York.

Each partner high school administrator will nominate up to three students, with the goal of enrolling at least 20 ACES students in the summer 2018 Pre-College Program.

ACES will foster mutually beneficial and lasting relationships with high school partners in underserved communities who are committed to increasing opportunities for talented students with significant financial need, particularly underrepresented minority students.

U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-10th Dist.), joined Stevens President Nariman Farvardin to announce the new program.

“There is a growing gap between the jobs that are in high demand and the people who have skills to fill them,” Payne said. “Over the next 10 years, 80 percent of careers will require a deep understanding of STEM skills. But more than half of students today struggle to meet basic math requirements.

“The ACES initiative will pave the way for minorities and underserved populations to enter STEM-related fields,” he added. “These young people will shape the way science, technology, engineering — and yes, math — affect our daily lives. And they will be positioned to create a future in which technology reflects the strength of America’s diverse communities.”

The program, which includes both pre-college and undergraduate components, builds upon the capabilities of a number of Stevens resources and constituencies — including faculty, students, alumni, academic and student life support services, pre-college programs, admissions and financial aid, and teacher/guidance counselor programs. Stevens will provide full-tuition scholarships to its Summer Pre-College Program to eligible ACES students from partner high schools, enabling them to experience college life and inspiring them to pursue a STEM-focused college education.

“The ACES program is an important initiative that reflects Stevens’ institutional mission to equalize and expand access to a Stevens education while also addressing the acute need for building a workforce with a technology orientation, especially given the important and growing role of technology in human progress and economic development,” Farvardin said. “ACES would not be successful without the enthusiastic participation and support of our alumni and partners, among them, many companies and foundations. These partnerships will provide the means to empower talented young students and foster their excitement about opportunities in science and technology, while also providing access to the resources and support they need in high school, during their undergraduate career and beyond, as alumni.”

A key resource for students is the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program, or STEP, which offers a wide range of services and programs to support the students’ success, and encourages their academic, professional, cultural and personal development.

The support begins with the Bridge Summer Program and continues during the academic year.

Stevens alumnus Nate Davis was instrumental in ACES’ creation.

“ACES is a major commitment that Stevens and all its partners are undertaking,” said Davis, who is executive chairman of K12, a leading provider of online curriculum and support services.

Nominated students must meet certain criteria and complete the online application by Feb. 15.

Twenty first-year undergraduate students will be selected to participate in ACES at Stevens for fall 2018; these students will be given special consideration for financial aid.