The program, which started last week, is called “Collaborative Research: The Hispanic AGEP Alliance for the Environmental Science and Engineering Professoriate,” and is receiving $3.7 million in funding from the National Science Foundation.

“I am very excited about this partnership as CCNY and UTEP are two very strong and influential HSIs,” Dr. Marybeth Gasman, the director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an email response to Diverse. “Both institutions have excellent STEM programs.”

CCNY is based in Harlem and serves a large number of Hispanic students. UTEP, located in El Paso, has about an 80 percent Hispanic student population. At both institutions, the percentage of Hispanic students in relation to the overall student body is not reflected proportionately in the number of Hispanic faculty, which has become a common scenario at many colleges across the nation.  read more at

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The five-year project will develop, implement and study a model for training and transitioning Hispanic-American doctoral students majoring in ESE fields to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instructional faculty at community colleges and other associate degree-granting institutions. The team will research the effectiveness of planned interventions, and the barriers that affect student selection of an academic career and the mitigation of those barriers.

“Hispanics represent 5.6 percent of the professoriate, according to the National Center for Education Statistics,” said Miguel Velez-Reyes, Ph.D., professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering and lead of the grant at UTEP. “Universities and colleges struggle to recruit, retain and promote Hispanic STEM faculty who can serve as role models and academic leaders for Hispanic students to learn from, to work with, and to emulate. This effort will help address the challenges that affect the transition of Hispanic doctoral students into academic careers at, in particular, community colleges and two-year colleges, where nearly half of Hispanic students start their college education, according to Pew Research.”

“Dr. Velez-Reyes’ work to promote diversity in the environmental science and engineering professoriate puts into practice the mission of UTEP and the College of Engineering,” said Howard Daudistel, Ph.D., interim provost at UTEP. “The kind of extensive preparation that is supported by this UTEP partnership with CCNY and NSF will position our doctoral students for success in academic careers. It’s a great example of combining access and excellence to create new professional opportunities.”


The grant program is part of a host of grants approved by the Federal Government across the United States to promote Hispanic students Pursuing STEM education.