As part of a robust effort to equalize and expand access to a STEM-focused college education, while contributing to the nation’s interest in building a technology-driven workforce, Stevens Institute of Technology has launched a series of programs and initiatives aimed at providing greater access to opportunities in STEM for students from underrepresented minority groups.
A record-setting gift will provide scholarships to engineering, computer science and cybersecurity students
The A. James Clark Scholars Program, established by a $15 million endowment gift from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, will provide financial support and enhanced learning opportunities at Stevens for exceptional undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the engineering, computer science and cybersecurity fields.
Stevens will enroll approximately ten Clark Scholars beginning in fall 2018. With a focus on students from underrepresented backgrounds, including first-generation college students, Clark Scholars will be selected annually based on financial need, academic achievement and community involvement.
The newly-launched scholarship program, the largest endowed scholarship gift in the university’s history, honors the legacy of the late A. James Clark, a noted engineer, philanthropist and president of the Maryland-based Clark Construction Group LLC, one of the nation’s leading privately-held construction companies.
“Mr. Clark was an inspiration, a mentor and a friend to me,” said Stevens President Nariman Farvardin, whose relationship with Mr. Clark dates back to his tenure at the University of Maryland, where he served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering.
Stevens joins an exclusive group of top universities selected by the Clark Foundation to implement the Clark Scholars Program, such as Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia.
“We are proud to establish the Clark Scholars Program at Stevens Institute of Technology,” said Joe Del Guercio, president and CEO of the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. “Mr. Clark believed in the power of education and investing in hardworking students with a drive to succeed. The Clark Scholars Program helps to eliminate financial barriers so that promising young students can receive the education and training to achieve their full potential and become tomorrow’s engineering leaders.”
Opening doors to pre-college and undergraduate opportunities
Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science) is a new initiative aimed at reducing barriers to STEM opportunities through partnerships with high schools with a high percentage of underserved and underrepresented minority students.
The 2017-18 launch will include New Jersey public, charter and Catholic schools in Newark, Paterson, Hoboken, Jersey City, as well as Brooklyn, New York. Through this initiative, Stevens will provide full-tuition scholarships to its Summer Pre-College Program to eligible ACES students from partner high schools, enabling them to experience college life and inspiring them to pursue a STEM-focused college education. Additionally, 20 first-year undergraduate students will be selected to participate in ACES at Stevens for fall 2018; these students will be given special consideration for financial aid.
At the ACES launch event on campus October 30, Stevens President Nariman Farvardin was joined by government and corporate leaders.
Shahid Malik, president of PSEG Energy Resources and Trade, was among those who spoke at the event. He touted PSEG’s “long-standing partnership with Stevens,” noting the university’s recognition by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top 25 “Most Innovative Schools” in the nation.
“PSEG is very proud to associate with an institution like this,” said Malik. “As part of our commitment, PSEG will contribute $1.5 million over the next three years to [Stevens] toward research on energy, but more importantly, to help underprivileged middle school and high school students attend an institution like this.”
Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-NJ-10), who also spoke at the event, pointed to the dearth of women and minorities at all levels throughout Silicon Valley, from programmers and management levels to the ranks of corporate leadership.
“At Facebook, only three in 100 employees are African American, and fewer than one in five technical employees is a woman. The company has no black or African American board members, no black or African American in the C-Suites, and is woefully behind in that effort,” he lamented.
“The ACES initiative will pave the way for minorities and underserved populations to enter STEM-related fields. These young people will shape the way science, technology, engineering — and yes, math — affect our daily lives. And they will be positioned to create a future in which technology reflects the strength of America’s diverse communities.”
New grants from NSF and Carnegie Corporation of New York
Along with the new initiative and scholarship program, Stevens’ efforts toward greater diversity in STEM fields was bolstered this year by the announcement of two important funding sources.
Thanks to a $450,000 award from the National Science Foundation, Stevens will embark on a two-year exploratory Discovery Research PreK-12 project, with the goal of developing a high school multimedia curriculum to increase the interest and knowledge of science and engineering, especially for young women and groups historically underrepresented in STEM.
The project will build upon the Stevens Music and Technology bachelor’s degree program and summer pre-college multimedia intensive program for high school juniors, utilizing multimedia production as a rich problem-solving context to promote students’ understanding of engineering design and relevant physics concepts.
In addition to the NSF grant, President Nariman Farvardin announced that he will devote a $500,000 grant toward increasing access to STEM degrees and careers for students from underrepresented minority groups. The grant is part of the 2017 Academic Leadership Award given to Dr. Farvardin by Carnegie Corporation of New York in recognition of his exceptional leadership in higher education.
The honor is granted biannually, following a rigorous nomination and review process, to a small number of select educators who demonstrate vision and an outstanding commitment to excellence in undergraduate education. In honoring Dr. Farvardin, Carnegie Corporation cited a number of institutional accomplishments, among them: investments in faculty, new academic and research facilities and new classroom technology; increased applications; and improved retention and graduation rates.
Stevens expertise and resources
The recent announcements build upon Stevens’ capabilities and well-established resources that have propelled previous students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to exceptional outcomes. Among them is the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program (STEP), which offers a wide range of services and programs to support the students’ success, and encourage their academic, professional, cultural and personal development. The support begins with the Bridge Summer Program, designed to lay the foundation for a successful undergraduate career for incoming first-year students.
For K-12 educators, the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) has been a Stevens mainstay for providing STEM professional development programs, developing teaching expertise to nurture the next generations of innovators and STEM-informed citizens. For more than a quarter century, CIESE has pioneered curriculum that has engaged thousands of middle school and high school students, including large numbers of girls and underserved minorities who are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Its impact — particularly in bringing STEM programming to disadvantaged youth in 23 states nationwide — earned the Center a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Barack Obama in 2011.
PSEG and Stevens Partner To Advance Research and Expand Educational and Cultural Programming
$1.5 Million Grant Will Support Energy Innovation and Public Service Initiatives
Public Service Enterprise Group has partnered with Stevens Institute of Technology to further support their commitments to energy innovation, public service and developing science, engineering and math (STEM) talent for the future. A $1.5 million grant to Stevens from the PSEG Foundation will support two parallel objectives and areas of strong mutual interest: Energy Innovation and Public Service.
“Stevens is proud to partner with PSEG, one of New Jersey’s and the region’s most highly respected companies and recognized as a major contributor to improving the lives of citizens and the economic vitality of the region,” said Nariman Farvardin, president of Stevens. “This partnership will lay the foundation for a strengthened and even more significant long-term relationship between PSEG and Stevens to further address the challenging issues regarding meeting society’s most pressing energy needs.”
“Our partnership with Stevens is an example of how industries and universities can work together to advance one another’s missions,” said Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSEG. “PSEG is proud to support the development and enhancement of educational programs that inspire students to pursue their interests in sustainability. Companies like ours will look to the next generation of innovators to help with issues such as climate change and energy independence. That requires people with the knowledge, curiosity and creativity.”
The Energy Innovation track of this three-year initiative will focus on faculty and student research capabilities in two key areas: energy conversion and storage. The research objectives in these areas will aim to advance the understanding of and technologies associated with flexible photo electronics and with the development of sustainable fuels. The partnership also will amplify Stevens’ institutional research capabilities in the energy domain in a manner that is guided by and responsive to industry priorities and concerns.
Stevens is committed to invest in the partnership through new faculty positions, Ph.D. scholarships and undergraduate research scholarships. In addition, the acquisition of new technical instrumentation will significantly enhance research capabilities relevant to the energy topics proposed.
“The potential impact of this multifaceted research is enormous,” Dr. Farvardin said. “PSEG will continue to face existential challenges and opportunities in the years ahead as the energy industry faces disruptive forces. Through the collaborative efforts of this partnership, Stevens’ faculty will continue to pioneer high-impact research in strategic areas that are of significant consequence for the future of society.”
The Public Service track will focus on enhancing educational opportunities and cultural programing. The PSEG/Stevens partnership will increase participation in STEM education for underserved and economically disadvantaged youth by providing full-scholarships and related support for eligible students to participate in the WaterBotics summer camp experience for middle school students and Stevens’ Pre-College Programs for high school students. These experiences will provide young students with a glimpse into college life and inspire them to pursue a STEM-focused college education.
Stevens and PSEG are dedicated to giving back to the community and making arts and cultural programming available to the citizens of Hoboken and the surrounding communities. The university expanded its public service offering during 2016-17 by launching OnStage at Stevens, a performing art series. As part of this initiative, PSEG will be the lead sponsor of OnStage at Stevens for the next three years.
The transformative partnership builds on a long-standing relationship between Stevens and PSEG. A generous PSEG Foundation grant helped fund the construction of Stevens’ SURE (SUstainable and REsilient) House and its entry in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The SURE House won top honors in the 2015 international competition.
Stevens Environmental Scientist Named to Major Climate Change Panel
Stevens professor Julie Pullen has been named to a major federal panel on climate change science alongside leading earth science experts from Yale, Princeton, Stanford, Columbia and the University of Michigan representing a range of disciplines.
The panel will review in depth the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4): Impacts, a forthcoming second portion of the NCA4, a comprehensive climate-change report required by the federal Global Change Research Program since 1990. Previous assessments were published in 2000, 2009 and 2014. The first portion of the new NCA4 was released in November 2017.
“This is an important federally-mandated report encompassing the latest science,” says Pullen, who will assist the National Academies in peer-reviewing the report issued by a consortium of 13 federal agencies. “As such, the regional specificity of climate change impacts represented in this report will be important to the nation.”
Pullen recently received a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to research and teach in the Philippines and contribute to an international multi-nation tropical oceanography and meteorology observing and modeling project in the region, while also enhancing public education and flood early-warning systems for that nation. She also serves on the Science Advisory Committee for the Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory Environmental Climate Sciences Department.
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