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SMC Receives $5 Million Federal Grant

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By Lookout Staff

December 9, 2021 -- Santa Monica College (SMC) has received a nearly $5 million five-year federal grant to expand opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) for Hispanic and low-income students, the college announced this week.

It is the third such grant the school has received from the U.S. Department of Education through its Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) STEM and Articulation Program.

The $4,944,951 helps underrepresented students by "providing outreach events, STEM Makerspace programming and establishing an application-based program called Maximizing Achievement in STEM (MÁS), among other activities," school officials said.

“It is truly momentous that Santa Monica College has received another such federal grant, to allow our academically rigorous, highly-supportive STEM program to take even greater steps to help more deserving students find their niche in STEM,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery.

Jeffery cited a 2021 Pew Research Center study that found Hispanic workers make up 17 percent of total employment across all occupations but represented only 8 percent of the STEM workforce.

"This is a very significant equity gap, but one I am confident Santa Monica College will help fill in the years ahead, through this grant,” Jeffery said.

STEM students at SMC can take specialized courses and receive free counseling, tutoring and supplemental instruction, school officials said.

They also receive peer mentorship and can gake part in professional development workshops "geared towards equipping them for success in STEM careers."

The new grant will help expand supplemental instruction in critical STEM courses and provide "enhanced wraparound support services" through the new MÁS program.

It also will help provide "specific STEM-based financial aid counseling and mental health support through a dedicated STEM therapist/case manager," officials said.

In addition, the grant will launch the new SMC STEM Makerspace and Engineering computer lab and develop Makerspace programming "in order to offer hands-on experience to STEM students."

“Our new Makerspace will also play a pivotal role in offering STEM students critical hands-on experiences, enhancing existing opportunities offered through the STEM program’s internship, externship, and research partnerships,” said Vanan Yahnian, SMC STEM project manager.

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