Queensborough and John Jay Colleges Partner to Extend Hispanic STEM Education

Published: October 25, 2021

Recognizing John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s commitment to expanding STEM educational and career opportunities for Latinx students, the U.S. Department of Education awarded John Jay College $4.77 million over five years to strengthen a pipeline for students stretching from community college, to John Jay, and then to graduate school and related high-paying jobs. 

The Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program (HSI Program) aims to increase recruitment, retention and graduation rates for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

“As a proud Hispanic-Serving Institution, our goal at John Jay has always been to support our students’ success in college and beyond, and that’s exactly what this innovative new pipeline program will do,” said John Jay College of Criminal Justice President Karol V. Mason “Thanks to our creative and dedicated faculty and staff and this new competitive grant funding, over the next five years we will be able to support community college students in their journeys toward graduation from John Jay and meaningful careers, and we will continue to build on John Jay’s successful track record as a national leader in Latinx and transfer student success.”

 “This grant will help us reach community college and Latinx students early in their educational journey to support them on a pathway to successful math and science careers,” said Professor Anthony Carpi, Dean of Research and leader of the grant project. “We will be working with multiple offices across the three colleges to support students every step of the way, with stipends and zero-cost learning materials to mentoring, skills workshops, grad school prep and internship support.”  

The goal is to graduate hundreds more students like alumnus Eugene Gonzalez-Lopez, Ph.D. ’12 ‘14. Eugene went from living in a homeless shelter as an undergraduate at John Jay to earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Neuroscience and Pharmacology from Penn State College of Medicine. [Read Eugene’s whole story

The new program will serve students at John Jay College and two CUNY community colleges, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) and Queensborough Community College. The program will expand on the CUNY Justice Academy (CJA), an innovative transfer success program at John Jay College that provides a seamless transition for community college students to continue studying in specific majors at John Jay after earning their Associate’s Degree at certain CUNY community colleges, including BMCC and Queensborough. 

“The three partner institutions on this $4.77 million DOE grant share a deep commitment to equitably bolstering socioeconomic mobility and life chances across our very diverse student communities,” said BMCC President Anthony E. Munroe. “Participants from John Jay College, Queensborough Community College, and BMCC will be striving to increase successful participation in STEM disciplines by Latinx students through the design and implementation of high-impact educational practices appropriate to the stages of their advancement from associate degree study to bachelor degree study to a wide field of postbaccalaureate opportunities.”

 “What’s great about this active partnership is that we will work together to serve Latinx students through what can be a challenge in the transfer from the associate to baccalaureate institution. Our collaboration will absolutely improve the success of our Latinx students, which comprise approximately 25 percent of our student community. We will better understand their individual needs and expectations at every step of their education journey,” said Queensborough President Dr. Christine Mangino.

The handoff between the community colleges and John Jay is a critical point in a students’ education journey, where transfer students will be given extra attention to make sure the transition goes smoothly and the students are set up with a plan to finish their undergraduate education and learn about all the resources at their disposal.

“Right now, we do a really good job preparing Latinx students for graduate programs in the sciences,” added Dean Carpi. “Through this grant, we will be able to help more students with math and science interests, and crucially, we’ll be able to build connections for them if they want to enter the workforce directly or go to grad school.” 

The program will utilize assertive advising that begins at the community college level, and will pair students with designated math and science faculty who will work with them to show them the pathway to John Jay and beyond. 

The grant will also provide additional support for John Jay’s PRISM program which offers opportunities to undergraduate students in five majors to conduct high-level research with faculty to better position them for post-graduate opportunities. 

In addition, the grant will expand John Jay’s successful STEM Acceleration Program, which was developed through the generous support of BNY Mellon, opening it up to students at Queensborough and BMCC. The Acceleration Program offers workshops and tuition assistance to help keep STEM majors on track towards graduation.  

Over the next five years, the program hopes to reach a 10% increase in the community college graduation rate, leading to a 10% increase in the number of students pursing STEM majors at John Jay, and a rise in post-graduate success and median income for STEM graduates two-years after graduation.  

John Jay hopes to bring in the first transfer students under this grant in the Fall of 2022. 

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice
An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is a Hispanic Serving Institution and Minority Serving Institution offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. John Jay is home to faculty and research centers at the forefront of advancing criminal and social justice reform. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College engages the theme of justice and explores fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu and follow us on Twitter @JohnJayCollege.

About BMCC
Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) is part of the City University of New York (CUNY), awarding associate degrees in more than 50 fields and ranked #5 among community colleges nationwide in granting associate degrees to minority students, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. BMCC is a diverse teaching and learning community committed to advancing equity and the intellectual and personal growth of students. Working to strengthen a culture of care inside and outside the classroom, the faculty and staff of BMCC share a passion for learning with students from around the world, and strive to increase degree completion, successful transfer, career achievement and service and leadership within the BMCC community, New York City, and beyond. Visit: http://www.bmcc.cuny.

About Queensborough Community College
Considered one of the best two-year schools in the nation, Queensborough Community College offers a world class, low-cost public higher education.  It serves one of the most diverse communities in America and is hailed by The Chronicle of Higher Education and Community College Week as a top-degree producer and a leading college in regard to social mobility into the middle class. These accolades reflect Queensborough’s dedication to providing students with a comprehensive educational experience through its academic programs, personalized advisement programs and outstanding faculty-led research opportunities. Visit: https://www.qcc.cuny.edu/.

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