The 2020 U.S. Census revealed that the country is growing more diverse than expected. However, Pew Research Center reported that, while the nation’s STEM workforce has grown rapidly, Black, Hispanic and other people of color remain underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs.
Black workers comprise 9% of the STEM workforce in the U.S.; Hispanic workers represent 8%; and Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders account for just 3%. The Pew report states that prospects for increasing diversity in the STEM workforce are closely linked to the educational system.
Five years ago, Hudson County Community College’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics realized that this disparity will greatly affect the future of STEM growth locally and nationally.
“We joined an alliance of New Jersey community colleges participating in the Rutgers University-based Scholarship-STEM program that is funded by the National Science Foundation,” HCCC President Christopher Reber said. “We are proud to announce that our ‘Sustainable Pathways from Community College to Bachelor’s Degree for Urban Youth in STEM (S-STEM)’ program has been recognized with the 2023 ‘Inspiring Programs in STEM’ Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.”
The award honors colleges and universities that encourage and assist students from traditionally underrepresented groups to enter STEM fields. HCCC and other award recipients will be featured in the September issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.
The HCCC S-STEM program provides students who are academically talented and have financial need with the academic and financial resources to successfully transfer to a baccalaureate STEM program.
The $2,000 S-STEM scholarship covers expenses beyond tuition, including textbooks, computers and living expenses. Scholarship recipients have access to a site coordinator who becomes familiar with the students and their needs and provides direct advising and mentoring.
Since the program began in 2018, 139 HCCC students have received S-STEM scholarships.
S-STEM students participate in research experiences at four-year institutions, internship opportunities, cross-campus peer mentoring, S-STEM Learning Communities, STEM club activities and a wide range of annual events including the STEM Research Conference, Transfer Fair, “You Got This!” event for STEM resume advice, plus additional summer research opportunities and mentoring.
“We have achieved outstanding results with our S-STEM program,” Dean of the HCCC School of STEM Burl Yearwood said. “The scholarship enables program participants to spend more time on their studies, and, as a result, more than 90% of the students transfer to four-year institutions such as New Jersey Institute of Technology, Smith College, Rutgers University, and State University of New York, to name a few.”
HCCC S-STEM students have participated in the Simons-NYU Science Explorations Program, a three-week, residential research initiative, and one former S-STEM scholar who transferred to NJIT is now employed as an analyst at SGS North America, a leading testing, inspection and certification company.
The S-STEM program at HCCC is actively recruiting high-achieving, full-time, traditionally underrepresented students. The application is available here.