The five-year grant issued through the government’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM Program will provide Saint Peter’s with a total of $3,874,222 for its SURGE (STEM Undergraduate Retention Graduation and Empowerment) program.
“We are deeply gratified to be the recipients of this record-breaking grant and I am personally grateful for the faculty and staff who worked tirelessly on the grant application,” said Eugene J. Cornacchia, president of Saint Peter’s University.
“Increasing the number of STEM graduates has become critical to the future workforce and economy of the United States, particularly in the state of New Jersey where the demand for STEM employment ranks in the top quarter nationally,” Cornacchia said.
The university currently serves a high percentage of Hispanic students with a higher interest in STEM compared to the national average. The SURGE initiative is designed to boost enrollment, retention, academic performance and graduation of Hispanic and low-income students in STEM at the Jersey City-based University.
“Saint Peter’s has established itself as a leader in STEM education as strong STEM programs already exist and the STEM fields make-up the largest percentage of majors at the University,” Cornacchia added.
“With the receipt of this grant,” Cornacchia continued, “we look forward to enhancing our resources in the STEM curriculum to inspire and support these students on the path to successful careers.”
Over the next five years, the grant will enable SPU to establish a “holistic” STEM Engagement Center offering faculty and peer tutoring, comprehensive advisement, early warning and tracking system loaned laptops, calculators and textbooks, and non-cognitive workshops.
The funding will also enhance the dual admissions program for STEM majors from Hudson County Community College (HCCC) whose students will have full access to the STEM Engagement Center and summer research opportunities.
The grant will also allow SPU to purchase state-of-the-art technology such as new software, upgraded classrooms and a computer lab to support student success.
The grant application was co-led by Maryellen Hamilton, professor and chair of the psychology department and Virginia Bender, special assistant to the president for institutional planning. Dr. Hamilton will serve as the grant project director.