Montgomery College Awarded Multiple National Science Foundation Grants to Increase Student Success in STEM Montgomery College to Receive $2.7 Million in Competitive National Science Foundation Funding

Montgomery College has been awarded three grants totaling $2.7 million to strengthen the pipeline of students entering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and who look to the College as a stepping stone to their chosen fields.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) grants include $1.8 million for the STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP), $600,000 for Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) Program and $300,000 under the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

Montgomery County, the state of Maryland and the nation are in critical need of STEM professionals who are work ready on the day they complete their degrees or certificates,” said Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard, Montgomery College president. “These grants from the National Science Foundation will enable Montgomery College to empower the next generation of the STEM workforce to change their lives and enrich the life of our community.” Led by principal investigator Dr. Michael Chase, with leadership from Science, Engineering and Mathematics Dean Eun-Woo Chang and participation from multiple Montgomery College science faculty members, the $1.8 million grant will benefit the Montgomery College Graduate and Transfer Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (GT STEP). The program seeks to increase the number of qualified and culturally diverse community college students who graduate and transfer to four-year institutions of higher education as STEM majors.

Program activities for engaging students, particularly those from nontraditional backgrounds, include intensive recruitment efforts, pre-admission outreach and support, early undergraduate research experiences, enhanced tutoring services for students in STEM gateway courses and summer and academic year internships. There are professional development opportunities for faculty and staff including guidance counselors and advisors, student mentoring, and improved online STEM resources including use of social media and webinars and summer bridge programs for incoming high school seniors. Project partners include Montgomery County Public Schools and universities in the region, University of Maryland College Park and University of Maryland Baltimore County. The $600,000 award for On-Ramp to STEM, led by Dr. Collins Jones, places Montgomery College prominently at the forefront of community colleges leading the way in enhancing the pipeline of those entering the STEM workforce with an interdisciplinary background in mathematics and life sciences. On-RAMP to STEM seeks to increase the number of underrepresented full-time students in biotechnology, biology and mathematics who transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce in the emerging field of computational biology. Building on a record of successfully fostering STEM students by creating a learning community and providing intensive academic support, one-on-one mentoring, internships and research opportunities, this program will offer approximately 125 scholarships and support four cohorts of scholars.

The $300,000 Noyce Teacher Scholarship program award, led by Professor Debra Poese, supports Montgomery College’s project, Teaching Pathways Opening Doors to STEM.

The project will integrate a variety of activities centered on the goal of increasing the pool of highly qualified STEM teachers. Faculty from the science, engineering and mathematics departments and from the School of Education at Montgomery College will work to leverage current partnerships with MCPS and transfer universities to design multiple pathways into K-12 mathematics and science teaching careers for MCPS students, current Montgomery College students and the large population of skilled mathematics and science professionals in the community who may choose to enter the teaching field.