Professors at John Jay College of Criminal Justice received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to advance undergraduate programs promoting retention and graduation of Latino and African-American STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) majors, according to a university news release.


Part of the NSF’s Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions initiative, the grant aims to support projects that improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education as well as increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of STEM students.


The grant also seeks to improve the rate historically underrepresented students in STEM and improve students’ access to STEM education and integration into the STEM workforce, which lacks diversity. For example, a report published last year uncovered a significant underrepresentation of Latino physicians in the United States.


Although Latinos account for almost 18% of the U.S. population, the report found that Latinos made up only 6.3% of the physician population. Latinas, specifically, made up a mere 2.4%. What’s more, in California, where Latinos account for 39% of the population, only 6% of physicians are Latino.


“These findings highlight the pressing need to prioritize investments in health equity and proactively address the shortage of Latina physicians and the importance of doing so at all levels of the educational pathway,” said Yohualli Balderas-Medina Anaya, MD, MPH, the report’s lead author.


A multicultural and inclusive college in New York City, John Jay is a Hispanic- and minority-serving Institution (HSI); 50% of its student body identifies as Latino, and about 20% identifies as Black.


John Jay programs supporting historically underrepresented communities include PRISM (Program for Research Initiatives in Science & Math), which helps prepare math and science students to enter STEM fields via hands-on research and preprofessional guidance, including faculty mentorship and career preparation.


Similarly, last year, the University of Texas at El Paso received a $7 million NSF grant to become a center of thought leadership for HISs throughout the country. According to the university, a disproportionate number of students at HSIs graduate with degrees in STEM compared with other institutions of higher education. But because HSIs have historically been underfunded, they have been unable to research best STEM practices.


To read more, click #Grant or #Diversity. There, you’ll find headlines such as “New UCLA Research Program to Prioritize Latino Representation,” “Nonprofit Encourages Black Medical Students to Enter Neurology Field With Grant” and “Report Highlights Need for Latino Physicians.”