Suffolk County Community College will be receiving $100,000 over the next five years to boost science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees among underrepresented minority students.

The money comes from a $4 million grant through the National Science Foundation’s SUNY Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation program.

The program is a collaboration of 14 SUNY schools.

“The strength and success of Suffolk’s STEM scholars and the vital role of community colleges, particularly Suffolk, remain crucial entry points and valued partners in this … alliance within SUNY,” said SCCC president Shaun McKay.

“This results in long ranging benefits for our diverse students, enabling them to bridge from the community college to the baccalaureate level, on to graduate school and into the STEM workforce-the next generation of STEM scholars,” he added.

The news comes just as Suffolk has started building a two-story, 34,000- square-foot Renewable Energy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Center on the Michael J. Grant, Brentwood campus.

It will be the first of its kind in the state community college system.

The five-year National Science Foundation award includes funds for stipends for Suffolk STEM students to engage in authentic research experiences – a known high impact practice for increasing participation and completion by underrepresented populations in STEM, officials said.

Stony Brook University and the other SUNY schools will look to expand the alliance and create additional STEM curriculum opportunities for students. 

Over the next five years, the three leading goals of the project will be to:

  • meet the continuing challenge of preparing under represented students for a successful transition into STEM majors;
  • provide experimental activities that lead to socialization into science; and
  • promote systemic change by broadening participation in research.

Since 1996, the program has been credited with helping with an 11-fold increase in STEM enrollment among minority students in the state.

During the past five years, the program has been a catalyst to helping to nearly double community college students transferring to four-year STEM undergraduate programs, according to officials.