Hispanic, first-generation and low-income college students at San Diego Mesa College
will receive a big boost, thanks to a just-announced five-year, $5 million Title III
grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The award will be used over a five-year
period to improve and increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) progress
through a student, faculty and pathways focus.
After a competitive nationwide process, approximately 38 colleges and universities
in California were selected for the federal five-year grant. The program provides
annual grants to assist Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) to expand educational
opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. Mesa College
will receive $5,043,486 in total over the next five years. The Hispanic student population
at Mesa College has grown substantially in recent years, with 37 % of fall 2016 students
identifying themselves as being of Hispanic/Latino descent.
The Mesa College Title III grant proposal, entitled “STEM Conexiones” (STEM Connections)
supports a number of instructional and student support practices aimed at strengthening
the college’s capacity to serve underrepresented students. Specifically, the grant
aims to increase student connections through enhanced counseling services, peer mentoring
and outreach, faculty connections through professional development and curriculum
redesign, and pathways connections working directly with high schools and adult learners
to prepare them for STEM majors.
Through this grant the college will establish a STEM Center, a place where students,
peer mentors and faculty will work together on classroom support, and a research incubator
for students to begin undergraduate research projects.
“We are excited and honored that we continue to be recognized for our work in diversity,
equity and inclusion. This is Mesa’s third major grant; we are currently in the third
year of a Title V HSI grant that is changing the landscape of the college, and we
were recently granted a Basic Skills Enhancement grant to continue our work in accelerating
students to and through college level work. This new grant leverages all of these
resources and catapults the college into cutting edge practices," noted President,
Dr. Pamela Luster.
The genesis and energy to apply for this grant came directly from the STEM faculty,
led by Chemistry Professor Dr. Donna Budzynski, and Assistant Professor of Biology,
Dr. Jennifer Carmichael. They interviewed their colleagues, students, and others across
STEM disciplines to assess the colleges’ needs, and to put together this three pronged
approach to increasing access and success for STEM students. Dr. Budzynski notes,
“The faculty is really excited that this grant will help us expand our work with students
and help them achieve their goals through increased access to mentoring, tutoring
and interactive learning environments.”
This is the first Title III-HSI-STEM grant for Mesa College, which was designated
in April 2012 as an eligible HSI under Title III and Title V programs of the Higher
Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008
(HEA). Mesa is currently in its third year of a 5 year Title V-HSI Grant awarded in
The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) Board of Trustees will review the
grant for acceptance at a meeting in October 2016.
Tags: STEM, Hispanic Serving Institutions, HSI Grant