On Sept. 27, NSU received a $2.87 million grant to expand opportunities for minority students. The university will use the money primarily to improve the success of Hispanic students at the Oceanographic Center.
Larry Calderon, Ed.D, vice-president for community and governmental affair, said that the funding will also assist other minority students at NSU as well.
“You qualify for the funds by being a Hispanic-serving institution, but the programs benefit all students,” said Calderon. “What’s good for one student is good for another.”
The grant was part of a push by the federal government to increase students’ interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“The federal government is giving more money to the STEM fields because a lot of professionals in those fields are beginning to retire and they have found there is a vacuum of students who are pursuing science,” said Calderon.
Lee Ballard, second-year law student, said he liked the fact that the university is opening more opportunities for students.
“I think if NSU qualified because it has a high minority population to gain more funding and they use that money to generate more interest in science, that’s good,” he said.
To do so the university will invest the money to improve student engagement, enrollment of Hispanic and other underrepresented populations and the availability of advisement among other areas.
Heather Fehlner, who is applying to NSU’s physical therapy program, said, “Science usually leads to a career in health care, which is a growing field. I think it’s great that this grant gives students the opportunity to do graduate work in science, which is usually needed to get into health care.”
The OC will create a new Fellows program, an enhanced process for admission and for accessing enrollment information, a new web portal, enhanced faculty development. The curriculum, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities will also be reviewed.
“We want to not only make NSU more aware to our Hispanic students, but to our students in general,” said Calderon. “We want to help them succeed and graduate.”