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COC program earns $437,000 NSA grant

Posted: August 7, 2008 4:07 p.m.
Updated: October 8, 2008 5:04 a.m.

College of the Canyons' new Transitions Program, which in its first year will support the recruitment, mentoring and support of 40 students studying biology, chemistry, engineering and mathematics, has received a $437,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

"The Transitions Program will provide many deserving students with both the support and enrichment they need to pursue engineering and science careers," Susan Crowther, director of the Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement program at COC, said in a statement.

Awarded through the foundation's S-STEM funding program, the three-year grant will help students prepare for graduation from COC and transfer to four-year schools. The Transition Program's long-range goal is to increase the numbers of diverse, well-educated and skilled employees in those fields.

In their first year, Transition Program students will complete educational plans, develop a research plan and receive a $3,500 scholarship to cover the cost of books, calculators and other academic materials required to complete a math-based course of study.

During their second and third years in the program, students will work with a faculty mentor in their discipline to design and carry out an individual research project, then present their findings during a research conference.

"When students, especially first-generation college students, receive this kind of mentoring from faculty, they really begin to flourish," said David Martinez, chair of the college's engineering department.

Students will also explore career options in their chosen fields, participate in academic enrichment activities and explore transfer schools with strong programs in their areas of study.

"The Transitions Program will enable students to really ‘try on' their career choice and see if it fits," said Gregory Nishiyama, a biology instructor at the college and the leading faculty member behind the new program.

Students who demonstrate financial need and academic promise will be invited to participate in the program.


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