Secretary's Column

Secretary’s October 2016 Column

STEM Collaborations Breaking Barriers

By Rochelle Hendricks
Secretary of Higher Education

As we work to ensure that students from all backgrounds are well-prepared to meet the future, including access to in-demand jobs, meaningful careers and productive lives, I am delighted to highlight extraordinary New Jersey programs that are models of what can be accomplished through collaboration, creativity, and commitment to excellence and equity. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career opportunities abound with more than 200,000 of these high-wage, high-demand jobs to be filled by 2025.


Rochelle Hendricks, Secretary of Higher Education

GS-LSAMP (Garden State’s Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) is a highly successful program led by Rutgers University-Newark and funded by the National Science Foundation. Rutgers-Newark, Bloomfield, Essex County College, Fairleigh Dickinson, Kean, Montclair State, NJCU, Rutgers-New Brunswick, and William Paterson are the pioneering GS-LSAMP institutions working together to increase the success of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines. Over the 3-year project period, the partners will increase the enrollment of underrepresented minority students in STEM by 10 percent across the Alliance (from 3,834 to 4,217); increase the 1-year retention rate of underrepresented minority students from 60 to 65 percent; and ensure that at least 900 underrepresented minority students successfully transfer into a baccalaureate STEM degree program, greatly exceeding the current level of transfers.

GS-LSAMP’s transfer success is a result of the Northern New Jersey Bridges to Baccalaureate (NNJ-B2B) Alliance, a partnership of five, public associate-degree granting institutions in northern New Jersey. The partner colleges include Hudson County Community College, Passaic County Community College, Bergen Community College, Middlesex County College, and Union County College.

Meanwhile, in another innovative project aimed at improving STEM education in our State, four New Jersey communities have joined 36 other groups from around the country as part of a national campaign to reimagine how to deliver STEM subjects to pre-K to 12th grade students, through partnerships with industry, museums, afterschool providers, universities and parents. The selected communities are from Delran, Hudson County, Newark and a coalition of counties representing South Jersey. The effort is an initiative of the STEM Pathways Network chaired by Laura Overdeck, Founder and President of Bedtime Math and Chair of the Overdeck Family Foundation ( The selected communities will work with the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), a national organization which manages STEM projects around the nation. The NJ STEM Pathways Network started in 2014, when I brought together a group of educators, entrepreneurs and industry leaders to suggest ways to enhance STEM education.

While we are discussing excellent programs that close achievement gaps in STEM for underserved minority students, I would like to say how much I appreciate the achievements of the ODASIS/Educational Opportunity Fund program being offered by Rutgers. ODASIS helps students from the lowest income levels successfully enter the medical professions. For more information, see the story elsewhere in today’s blog:(Rutgers: Increasing Diversity In Healthcare).

I am proud of the collaborative vision and work underway by these colleges, universities, school districts, community organizations, and foundations to improve access to STEM disciplines and careers for the benefit of all students. Congratulations to all involved for their exemplary outcomes, and we will see you again in December with a new blog about what’s happening in higher education.

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