October 27, 2020

White Bear Lake, MN, October 27, 2020 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Century College an $825,000 grant to support the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students who are pursuing an academic degree and career in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

 The award is part of a collaboration between Century College, Normandale Community College, Minneapolis College, and led by Augsburg University with a combined budget of $5 million. The collaborative project will provide scholarships to students, up to $7,500 per year, as well as internships and research experiences over a five-year period starting this academic year.

 “This project will provide a tremendous opportunity to support students pursuing an education and career in STEM fields. This support is timely as it aligns with Century College’s strategic plan that focuses attention on reducing equity gaps and strengthening structural opportunities for increased access to success,” states Angelia Millender, President of Century College. “I would like to express my gratitude for the commitment of our Century College faculty members Jessica Bell and Joann Pfeiffer, and Dean Monica Ramirez, and for our inclusion in this project by Augsburg University, and our Minnesota State college partners. Receiving this grant is a testament to the significant value of higher education institutions working together to create intentional bridge opportunities to four-year institutions and our future workforce in high-demand STEM fields.”

Within this collaborative partnership, Century College will focus efforts on recruiting, retaining, and supporting a cohort of STEM students to ensure a successful transition through STEM transfer pathways to four-year universities.

 “Century College’s primary goal within this project is to support STEM students to increase transfer rates, engage in research and internships, complete baccalaureate STEM degrees, and transition to STEM graduate programs or positions in the STEM workforce,” notes Jessica Bell, Ph.D., Biology Faculty. “Students will be assigned a faculty mentor in their field of study and will be provided programmatic support for their academic and career goals in STEM.”

 In addition, the project will include an education research component led by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The goal of the research is to increase the academic success of students through effective mentoring.

 Joann Pfeiffer, PhD, Century College Chemistry Faculty states, “Through this collaborative work, we will investigate effective practices to better advise and mentor students throughout these transitions, and thereby, improve the overall educational experience and outcomes for high-achieving, low-income STEM transfer students.”  

The NSF award seeks to increase the number of academically talented students with demonstrated financial needs who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation, and academic/career pathways for low-income students.