Eugenio María de Hostos Community College of The City University of New York was awarded over $3.6 million by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) in support of the College’s Proyecto Access STEP and CSTEP Programs. The grants, which will fund two separate proposals, will serve a total of 451 students each year and will be apportioned over the next five years.

Over the last 23 years, more than 5,000 students have been a part of Proyecto Access. Initially funded by NASA in the summer of 1997, Proyecto Access was created to serve 50 underrepresented, high achieving, low-income secondary school students pursuing careers in engineering, mathematics, technology, or science. The number of students served by Proyecto Access has increased significantly over the years reaching a total of 382 students in 2019 in both STEP and CSTEP Programs.

The NYSED grants are tangible proof of Hostos’ achievements in and commitment to addressing the lack of women and minorities in the STEM fields. The importance of the issue is apparent. The Center for Online Education has noted: “As these fields begin to grow and more qualified professionals are needed to lead innovation, it has become increasingly clear that recruiting more women and minorities is essential for continued growth and creativity.”

For Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Director of Proyecto Access STEP and CSTEP, Moise Koffi, the award announcement confirms the College’s steady work, stating “I am proud of the significant progress of STEM education at Hostos. Each year we see how the College prepares our students for the STEM workforce of the 21st century.”

In the last decade, Hostos has prepared thousands of students through mentorship, financial support, research studies, competition, games, films, and presentations in science, technology, engineering, math, and the arts. Many STEM/STEAM alumni are on solid graduate and professional tracks of prestige and faculty hold a strong alumni network. Students and faculty participants in STEM events and activities have won or received over 30 awards, including the 2019 NSF Hostos Engineering Academic Talent (HEAT) Scholarship award.