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Diversity & Inclusion
October 5, 2021

St. Francis College Creates a Stem Success Collaborative to Support Hispanic Student Success in STEM Fields

St. Francis College announced today it will launch a new STEM Success Collaborative (SSC), a five-year initiative funded by the United States Department of Education (DOE) to boost enrollment and graduation rates of Hispanic and low-income students in SFC's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The DOE recognized SFC as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) for the first time earlier this year, signaling that more than 25% of its students now self-identify as Hispanic and making the College eligible for certain federal grants earmarked to support Hispanic student success.

In fall 2020, Hispanic students made up 28% all SFC students, the single largest self-identified racial or ethnic group among the College's student body.* SFC's Hispanic student population has grown consistently since at least 2011, when it stood at 16%.

Under SSC, SFC will set up pipelines through which Hispanic and low-income students who earn STEM degrees at Hispanic-serving 2-year colleges can seamlessly transfer into SFC to complete 4-year degrees in those fields. It will also introduce new facilities and technologies into classrooms, revamp elements of SFC's curriculum, expand research and professional development for students and provide additional faculty training, all to support Hispanic student achievement.

The DOE awarded SFC $3.7 million for SSC as part of its HSI STEM and Articulation Program, a grant-making program to help increase the number of Hispanic and other low-income students attaining STEM degrees and to move more Hispanic STEM students from 2-year into 4-year institutions in STEM fields.

"It's such a thrill to introduce STEM Success Collaborative during Hispanic Heritage Month, a time when we reflect upon the enormous contributions of people of Hispanic descent to all areas of American life," said Jennifer Lancaster, Ph.D., Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean. "At SFC, our Hispanic self-identified students are central to the culture and community of this institution every day of the year."

In New York City, the median wage for jobs in STEM fields is $90,000, 66% higher than NYC's overall median wage. Yet while the Hispanic population makes up 17% of the workforce overall, they account for only 8% of the STEM workforce. Twenty-one percent of this country's 18-24-year-olds are Hispanic, but they earn only 12% of all bachelor's degrees awarded and only 10% of bachelor's degrees awarded in STEM fields nationwide.

SFC's STEM majors include nursing and biology – two of its most popular degree programs – as well as chemistry, physics, exercise science, health care management, health promotions, information technology, math and radiologic sciences.

"Ensuring that Hispanic women and men are fully represented in STEM fields – and reap the rewards that careers in those fields provide – speaks to the very foundation of SFC's mission to remove all barriers to education and career opportunity and ensure we nurture that the unique talents and potential of every individual in our community," said Monica Michalski, SFC Assistant Vice President Student Support and Academic Operations.

SFC will receive its first of its five annual SSC fund packages from the DOE on October 1, 2021 and will begin putting together the program after that.

LatinX Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. Among SFC events planned that help commemorate the Month include the Young Filmmakers Conference held on September 29, 2021, hosted with HITN (Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc.), the largest Spanish-language public broadcasting network in the United States.

SFC's Latin American Society, a student-run club, is also planning an Alumni Panel Event on October 7 featuring three Hispanic alumni and former LAS members- Danny Plaza '05, Athalie Arrington '05 and Elizabeth Peralta-Foxwell '15.

Follow @SFCNY on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for highlights from Hispanic Heritage Month events.

*Fall 2020 SFC Enrolled Student Ethnicity (Self-Identified)

  • Hispanic: 28%
  • White (non-Hispanic): 26%
  • Black (non-Hispanic): 24%
  • Non U.S citizen: 9%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Unknown: 4%
  • Multiracial: 3%
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native: 1%
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 1%

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