The U.S. Department of Education has awarded The University of New Mexico-Valencia campus a nearly $5 million Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics and Articulation Programs (HSI-STEM) grant.

UNM-Valencia will receive more than $1.09 million for the first budget period, from Oct. 2016 to Sept. 2017, with the remaining $3.9 million being dispersed over the subsequent four years.

“We are thrilled to be awarded a grant that will provide direct service to STEM students,” said Alice Letteney, chief executive officer of UNM-Valencia.

The purpose of the HSI-STEM program, led by Regent’s Professor Miriam Chavez, is to develop and carry out activities to improve and expand UNM-Valencia’s capacity to serve Hispanic (H) and other low-income (LI) students.

The HSI-STEM grant will fund the Reaching Rural STEM Students (R2S2) project, which has three major goals:

• Increase the number, persistence, and success of full-time H/LI students majoring in STEM degree programs;
• Increase the number of H/LI students graduating with a STEM associates or certificate;
• Increase the number of H/LI students retained in STEM programs after transfer.

“These project goals are very important, as they will give our students the skills needed to graduate on time in high-need STEM degrees,” said Program Manager of Contracts and Grants Cindy Shue.

The goals, according to the grant, will be accomplished by implementing expanded student support services—an undergraduate research program, an industry outreach program—a new course focusing on program data analytics, and establishing strong partnerships to improve post-transfer persistence with other colleges.

“The grant will hire staff and faculty to inform students in K-12 about STEM careers and connect with business and industry partners. It will teach students about financial literacy — how to manage their money, including educational loans while attending college and beyond,” Letteney said. “Training in undergraduate research and support for transfer students attending UNM-Main Campus and New Mexico Tech are other features of the project.”

During the 2014-15 academic year, UNM-Valencia’s enrollment was 2,077 students; 37 percent were STEM majors. Of those students, 64 percent were Hispanic, 52 percent low-income and 80 percent were either Hispanic or low-income.

“This project will give our students the confidence to complete their degree and transfer to four-year research universities and thrive,” says Shue. “We are excited for the professional and educational opportunities this brings to our campus and our communities.”

For more information about UNM-Valencia Campus, call (505) 925.8560.