Helping Minority STEM Students Succeed

Helping Minority STEM Students SucceedMontclair State’s College of Science and Mathematics is in its fifth year of a $5 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for a program that helps minority students succeed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Montclair State serves as the northern cluster hub of New Jersey’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, which has two goals: to help students from populations that are underrepresented in the sciences complete STEM degree programs and to encourage them to study at the graduate level.

“LSAMP creates, through social and academic networking, a collegial inter- and intra-alliance environment for STEM scholars, professors and graduate students,” says biology and molecular biology professor Carlos Molina, the University’s LSAMP program director.

Montclair State welcomed its first cohort of LSAMP students in fall 2009. This year, according to Molina, 104 undergraduates are taking part in the program’s educational and social events, tutoring and mentoring programs, internships, academic training sessions and research opportunities. Selected scholars receive up to $2,000 a year to support their LSAMP activities, while others access program support as LSAMP affiliates.

Helping Minority STEM Students Succeed“The broader impact of the program is its ability to form a network of academic and social support for young scholars interested in pursuing STEM degrees and careers in STEM fields,” says Molina.

Robert Prezant, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, says the University hopes to continue to lead this successful program with NSF funding well into the future. “Having directed an LSAMP at Queens College and having helped create the one here, I can state with great confidence that this program is one that works,” says Prezant. “The design of the program successfully helps to self-motivate students who already have great capacity.”