The University of New Mexico and the Central New Mexico Community College signed three cooperative agreements in a ceremony in the Greenhouse at UNM's Castetter Hall in the Department of Biology Tuesday. The agreements, a Biology Transfer Degree Agreement, a Data Analyst Agreement and an Articulation Analyst Agreement, are all part of the UNM/CNM STEM Undergraduate Pathway (STEM UP) project and signify an important collaboration between the two institutions formalizing their commitment to increasing the numbers of Hispanic students from low-income backgrounds enrolled in and graduating with STEM degrees.

"The signing ceremony marks an important recognition of the efforts that have been made to help students transfer to UNM from CNM, "says Carolina Aguirre, director, UNM Title V STEM UP. "More importantly it revitalizes those efforts towards creating clear pathways and support for students to earn both associates degrees at CNM and Bachelor's degrees at UNM in the STEM fields,"

The Biology Transfer Degree Agreement provides CNM students earning an associate's degree in biology with a clear pathway and admission directly into the UNM Arts and Sciences Biology Department. The Data Analyst Agreement will give students who declare in the STEM fields a quicker and more directed pathway between CNM and UNM.

"The agreement can help us help the students stay on track," said Phillip Bustos, vice president for Student Services, TVI.

The Articulation Analyst Agreement will ensure more comprehensive data sharing through a data analyst in the CNM research department dedicated to gathering and reporting data on STEM UP initiatives and progress towards meeting the grant goals of increasing STEM enrollment and graduation for Hispanic and low income students at both institutions.

In October 2011, UNM's Office of Student Services and Central New Mexico Community College were awarded funding under a Title V grant in the amount of $3.47 million grant by the U.S. Department of Education and authorized under Title III, Part F, section 371 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended, Hispanic-Serving institutions (HSI) STEM and Articulation Program Cooperative.

The STEM UP project partners UNM with CNM to improve systemic pathways and increase student transfers from two-year to four-year institutions in STEM technical education opportunities that adequately prepare Hispanic and low-income students for STEM careers.

Media Contact: Dorene Dinaro, (505) 277-5299; e-mail: ddinaro@unm.edu.