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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

National Science Foundation Grant Will Extend STEM Program for Underrepresented Students at Cal Poly

Written By Tony Turretto

A program to increase the number of underrepresented students participating in technical fields at Cal Poly will continue thanks to a federal grant.

The National Science Foundation awarded a nearly $1.3 million grant to the California State University system to increase the number of students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, disciplines. The grant, spread over five years, supports the Louis Stokes STEM Pathways and Research Alliance at CSU’s 23 campuses across the state.

At Cal Poly, the project annually assists more than 200 students in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, which works to broaden the participation of underrepresented STEM students. The NSF grant ensures the program will continue at Cal Poly through 2023 by providing $125,000 over the next five years. Additionally, the university system Chancellor’s Office will match the NSF monies to bring total funding to $250,000 over the five years. 

“The LSAMP program is designed to erase economic barriers to student’s achievement of their personal and professional STEM goals,” said Jane L. Lehr, Cal Poly LSAMP director and an ethnic studies professor. 

The program provides financial support for undergraduate research experiences and travel to academic and professional conferences for the students. It also provides students with advising, networking and professional development services. 

The broader goals of the program are to increase the number of underrepresented students completing undergraduate and graduate STEM degrees and expand scholarly research by the students in related technical fields.

Lehr thanked university President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Provost Kathleen Enz Finken “for their ongoing commitment to and support for the success of the program at Cal Poly.” In addition, she lauded the Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education and the College of Science and Mathematics, which has hosted the program since 2012.