Ithaca College has received a five-year, $2 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.
The grant, which is part of a partnership between seven schools in Upstate New York, is focused on increasing diversity within STEM fields. Students in the program will be able to participate in career development workshops and paid summer research opportunities, with an emphasis on community building and mentorship.
Lynn Cortese, director for the Department of Access, Opportunity and Achievement, said the grant is divided between Ithaca College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Utica College, Herkimer Community College and Tompkins Cortland Community College.
Cortese said the college began planning to apply for the grant in Spring 2020, met with neighboring schools in summer 2020 and applied for the grant in Fall 2020.
“We started to reach out to other schools in the area that we felt like had some similar personality traits to Ithaca College — mainly being that we had really strong student to faculty ratios … [and were] looking to advance equitable outcomes for students, especially in the STEM fields,” Cortese said. “And those who, at the same time, have the challenges of being smaller institutions where there may not be as many financial resources to support research.”
She said the grant program will include boot camps so students can get an inside look at the research facilities, get to know faculty mentors and their peers who are also pursuing STEM majors. She said upperclassmen will be provided with research mentor experiences.
Te-Wen Lo, associate professor in the Department of Biology, said the resources provided from the grant will be shared across the alliance of schools.
“Workshops and seminars on individual campuses will be open to the entire alliance (in-person or via Zoom due to COVID),” Lo said via email. “Another example, LSAMP participants will have access to summer research opportunities with faculty outside of their home institution. Transportation will be provided for students to attend alliance-wide events.”
Cortese said the college is already recruiting students to be a part of the program.
“We really are hoping to be able to start bringing students in and connecting with them,” Cortese said. “And make sure that we have plenty of time to plan for, not only their academic years, but summers as well.”