UAlbany Working to Expand Diversity in STEM Fields

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics--also known as STEM fields--are transforming our economy and job market.  The University at Albany is at the forefront of preparing the next generation of STEM leaders with two new initiatives specifically designed to encourage students from underrepresented populations to studies in these fields.

The Bridge to the Doctorate program was recently launched at UAlbany to expand participation in STEM fields and prepare participants to pursue graduate studies and leadership roles.  The program, supported by a $987,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, will provide fellowships to qualified students from populations underrepresented in STEM studies, removing the financial barriers that prevent many of these students from pursuing graduate study. It will also provide academic and research support services for students. The Bridge to the Doctorate program is part of the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program at NSF.

"This grant will strengthen our efforts to build a diverse community of scholars in STEM
graduate programs at the University," said Kevin Williams, UAlbany Vice Provost for Graduate Education and principal investigator on the program. "It will also allow UAlbany to recruit highly talented students and provide intensive mentoring and professional development as they pursue their doctoral degrees."

In addition, the College of Computing & Information
(CCI) has recently been chosen to serve as the convening organization for the New York affiliate of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). This is an organization working to promote inter-organizational collaboration to inform and encourage girls to pursue STEM careers. 

"Many programs that serve girls in STEM are limited in service and impact due to size,
location, funding, expertise and equipment, while others compete for the same resources and duplicate services," said Jennifer Goodall, assistant dean of CCI's Department of Informatics. "The NGCP strives to collaborate with STEM programs to increase their organizational capacity to maintain both the interest and participation of girls. The project will also address out-of-school time about effective engagement and outreach strategies for underrepresented girls in STEM."

NGCP's New York affiliate, titled New York Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (NYSTEAM) Girls Collaborative, will host a variety of free or low-cost professional development opportunities for relevant organizations, educators, and business professionals in the area. The model is structured to bring organizations together to compare needs and resources, share information, and to plan strategic
ally to expand STEM-related opportunities for girls.

The University at Albany has a long history of fostering student success in the STEM fields. The University's Center for Achievement, Retention and Student Success
(CARSS), founded in 2008, operates a federally funded program designed to enhance recruitment and retention of students with science and mathematics majors through academic support services, mentoring, and tutoring.  The Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP) and the College Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) introduces underrepresented and economically disadvantaged youth grades 7-12 and undergraduate students to careers and advanced studies in STEM fields. Additionally, the Women in Technology program at CCI supports and empowers female faculty and students as well as encourages girls in middle school and high school to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in STEM fields.  The College Database, an online directory of US colleges, also recently cited the University as one of the nation's top 50 Colleges Advancing Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Click for more information on the Bridge to the Doctorate program and the National Girls Collaborative Project.