BC receives $5 million grant for STEM program

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Bakersfield College received a $5 million grant as part of the United States Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institutions Step Up to STEM project.

The grant is intended to support the Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Articulation program (STEM) student success among Hispanic and Latinx students from lower-income backgrounds and first generation college students.

Zav Dadabhoy, President of Bakersfield College, said the funding will help ensure Hispanic and Latinx students will be provided with what they need to succeed.

“Bakersfield College is a leader in providing high quality education to traditionally underserved students and while we are supporting them with high-tech and high-touch support, we are simultaneously growing our programs because our students are engaging with their education at a younger age and these intentional support systems help them grow in confidence to know they are capable of achieving great things,” Dadabhoy said.

Being able to support students interested in STEM who do not have high math skills or students who are coming into BC after being in the workforce for years, this allows program will allow those students succeed in STEM, says Associate Dean of Instruction of Physical Science and Engineering, James McGarrah.

“Supporting Renegades in STEM is a major priority. With programs like this we’re able to better support
STEM-interested students starting the path with lower math attainment from high school or are coming back to the classroom after many years in the workforce. Self-esteem is a major issue for these populations of
students. This program will attempt to tackle that challenge head on,” McGarrah said. “It’s a win-win because we’re further fostering our commitment to an equity-centered learning environment, while preparing students to start strong, stay strong, and finish strong on a pathway which is so critical to our local economy.”

The BC student body is made up of 80 percent first-generation college students and 78 percent of those students receive financial aid, according to BC. Seventy percent of BC students are Hispanic or Latinx.

Since 2016 BC had 2770 STEM students while in 2020 there were 3982 STEM students enrolled, according to the college.

With the passing of Measure J in 2016, BC has been building its $65 million Science and Engineering building which will be completed soon and will compliment this funding at a key moment for the STEM program and its students.

To learn more about STEM and other programs offered at BC visit bakersfieldcollege.edu.

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