Suffolk County Community College awarded a $1.5M grant for STEM studies


Suffolk County Community College (SCCC) has received a $1.5 million grant that will help the institution boost the number of low-income, academically talented Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) students who graduate, and then either transfer to a four-year STEM program or directly enter the STEM workforce.

With the Improved Support for Undergraduates in Community College Engaged in STEM Studies (I-SUCCESS) Grant, the college can develop new student support and cohort-building opportunities and aid students financially.

“Suffolk County Community College has a well-known and respected STEM program,” said Professor Sean Tvelia, the project’s director.  “The additional academic resources, proactive mentoring, and student-centered approach provided through this program will increase success amongst our STEM students.”

The program will support 18 new and 16 continuing students each year with financial support averaging about $10,000, from program entry to graduation.

Tvelia said students who actively participate in I-SUCCESS will be better prepared for professional careers than students at four-year universities. 

The I-SUCCESS grant will provide students with the following:

  • Scholarships.
  • A mentoring program with faculty positioned strategically across campuses and within STEM disciplines to serve as role models and advisers.
  • More opportunities for engagement through remote and in-person activities.
  • Internship and job coaching to supplement existing career services for STEM careers in the regional workforce.
  • High-impact practices proven effective at promoting retention and transfer, including authentic research experiences, publication, presentation and workforce internship opportunities.
  • Accessible, discipline-specific faculty tutoring to improve existing support.

Since the 2016-17 academic year, unmet financial needs among STEM undergraduates at SCCC have increased by about 38 percent.

The I-SUCCESS project includes scholarships totaling $900,900 over six years.

In addition, students receive $13,800 to support summer research travel expenses.

“Creating a new generation of talented STEM professionals is not just an economic need, it is also a social need,” SCCC President Dr. Edward Bonahue. “By eliminating barriers facing students who wish to be exposed to STEM, we can broaden the students’ economic opportunities and empower them as agents of change in our communities.”

The project begins on Oct. 1.

Students interested in applying to the I-SUCCESS program can visit the college’s I-SUCCESS website, or may contact Professor Sean Tvelia.

Top photo: STEM students working in a chemistry lab at Suffolk County Community College. Photo courtesy of the SCCC News page.