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The Department of Education’s Title V, Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program has awarded Whittier College a $2.6M grant to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning and research at the College and significantly increase the graduation and retention rates of Latinos and students from other underrepresented groups. This is the largest Title V grant that the College has received and it is awarded for a period of five years.
Whittier College, a nationally ranked liberal arts college known as a model for the nation in educating and preparing a thriving diverse student population, has the added distinction of being recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI.) The HSI designation is granted to colleges and universities with at least 25% Hispanic undergraduate student enrollment. Over 40% of Whittier’s student population identifies as Hispanic or Latino.
“This grant will profoundly increase the College’s capacity for science learning and research by strengthening curriculum and career support for students and by providing state-of-the-art equipment in our new Science and Learning Center,” said Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger. “Our commitment to educating a diverse student population is a priority, and our focus on STEM and allied health education transforms students into scientific leaders and informed decision-makers in our community and beyond.”
Key elements of Whittier’s implementation strategy for this grant include an innovative adaptation of a proven summer internship program for Latino, low-income, and/or at-risk students, focusing on internships in health and science organizations, dedicated advising, and a course designed to help equip students to succeed in careers in STEM fields.
In addition, the grant will also support undergraduate research opportunities and the acquisition of equipment and supplies needed to provide optimal learning and research environments that enable students to reach their full potential. The purchase of new equipment will be part of the complete renewal of the College’s Science and Learning Center, which is underway and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2016.