Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) transfer students to Binghamton University may now have access to funding and resources designed to facilitate undergraduate degree completion.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and New York state Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced this month that the University will receive more than $4 million in federal funding to promote the completion of bachelor of science degrees in STEM fields.
The award is intended to support students transferring from two-year colleges, and the grant will link BU with Broome Community College and Queensborough Community College. According to M. Stanley Whittingham, distinguished professor of chemistry and materials science at BU and co-principal investigator on the grant, the collaboration will help students get involved with research and form links with local businesses.
“We’re excited to strengthen our ties with these schools,” Whittingham said in a statement. “This effort pairs well with the recent SUNY 2020 award to Binghamton for equipment and resources to increase the number of graduating students in STEM in the area of smart energy.”
The $2.8 million NYSUNY 2020 award, granted last year to the University by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, funds the development of facilities for renewable energy research and provides student research opportunities. The new grant will help make transfer students part of SUNY 2020’s effort to enhance and expand renewable energy research.
The funding for the award will be allocated through the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that funds scientific research and education. The foundation grants money to over 2,000 colleges and universities across the nation and distributes approximately 12,000 new awards each year. According to Schumer, the award is an opportunity for the federal government to invest in students and education.
“Binghamton University is a world-class institution that excels in education and innovation,” Schumer said in a statement. “This federal investment will allow Binghamton to connect directly with community colleges and support academically gifted students through the transition to four-year STEM degree programs.”
Participating students, who will be selected by their community colleges, will be able to learn and conduct research in University laboratories and will receive training and stipends. Additionally, students will work with the American Chemical Society’s education division to learn about career planning and college success. BU President Harvey Stenger said these opportunities benefit both the students and the University.
“The students selected for this new program will benefit from a hands-on research experience centered on one of the leading trends in science today: smart energy,” Stenger said. “This NSF award will enable us to help many talented, yet underserved, students earn a bachelor of science degree — critical to a career in the STEM fields — as well as further the University’s standing as a leader in STEM education.”