Norco College Awarded $4.3 Million, Five-Year Stem Grant to Develop a Transfer Pathway for Engineering Students
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Norco College Awarded $4.3 Million, Five-Year Stem Grant to Develop a Transfer Pathway for Engineering Students

Grant Intended to Increase Access to Engineering Fields for Latino and Under-Represented Student Populations, Direct Transfer to CSU and UC

Norco College (NC) received notification of a $4.3 million STEM grant to develop a pre-engineering transfer pathway to the CSU and UC systems for Latino and other under-represented student populations.

As a Hispanic-serving institution, NC serves a segment of students who often are the first generation in their families to attend college. NC will collaborate with UC Riverside, Cal Poly Pomona, and CSU San Bernardino to redesign courses and programs to create a culturally responsive pre-engineering associate degree for direct transfer to universities. Degree options will include alternative energy, engineering technology, and sustainable construction engineering.

NC Acting President Debbie DiThomas says the college also will adopt the MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement) program and conduct outreach to local high schools to support student success in algebra and trigonometry.

“It is important that high school students are introduced early to the opportunities that exist in STEM fields,” DiThomas said. “With this early exposure and support, we believe many more students will choose these career pathways—which improve graduates’ opportunities in the 21st workplace and benefit our communities.”

Norco College students will see an immediate impact from the grant. Calculus, physics, chemistry, and biology labs will be outfitted with new equipment, and NC students will be able to participate in field experiments with Cal Poly Pomona faculty and students. The College also will open a new STEM center and develop a STEM-focused summer bridge program to boost student success.

The new HIS-STEM grant raises the total level of grants won by Norco College in September to $7.8 million. Previously, the College announced a $3.5 million National Science Foundation grant that will fund a National Center for Excellence in Supply Chain Technology—one of only two NSF national center grants awarded in 2011.

“These additional resources will help us to strategically strengthen programs and increase student retention and completion rates,” DiThomas said. “Norco College is fulfilling its designation as a comprehensive liberal arts, science, and technology institution.”