A National Science Foundation (NSF) grant in the amount of $300,000 has been awarded to Farmingdale State College for a program that will bring minority PhD students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to the College, where faculty will mentor them as teaching assistants, with the goal of hiring them as full-time faculty.
The grant program dovetails with SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson's PRODI-G (Promoting Recruitment, Opportunity, Diversity, Inclusion and Growth) initiative, to develop more diverse faculties among all SUNY campuses.
The five-year grant was made possible by a proposal written by Dr. Erwin Cabrera, associate director of the College's Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) program. Farmingdale will work with Suffolk County Community College and Stony Brook University, which will be the feeder school for PhD STEM students. According to the NSF, this is a model focusing on "career development for historically underrepresented minority doctoral degree students in STEM, who successfully transition into early career STEM faculty positions at predominately undergraduate institutions."
Said Dr. Cabrera about the Farmingdale grant: "Through our program, the Stony Brook doctoral students that will be hosted by our STEM departments will get the experience of being integrated into the academic environment, interacting with the faculty on campus, and most importantly, our students. The average underrepresented minority undergraduate student in the United States does not see themselves reflected in the faculty at their respective institutions. It is important that as one of the fastest-growing public colleges in the country, we at Farmingdale take charge in making a change.
"By building a pipeline program for prospective underrepresented minority faculty to be exposed to the FSC academic culture, this ultimately will create a mechanism for potentially hiring these scholars that have already been integrated into the campus community, making that transition seamless. We aim through this project not only to make a change locally but to create a model in which schools like ours can emulate, to tackle this issue nationwide."