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NSF issues first undergraduate research awards for Hispanic-serving institutions

by Andrea Widener
August 26, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 34


An aerial photo of students arranged in the shape of the state of California.
Credit: UC Merced
UC Merced students arrange into the shape of California near the campus's "Beginnings" sculpture.

The National Science Foundation National Science Foundation - Where Discoveries Begin has awarded $45 million to 31 Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs)—schools with a minimum of 25% Hispanic enrollment—to increase their capacity for undergraduate research. The agency hopes the program will draw more Hispanic students into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers. About 16% of the U.S. workforce but less than 6% of scientists and engineers are Hispanic. Since more than 60% of Hispanic students attend HSIs, NSF focused this new program on increasing undergraduate research opportunities at those institutions. For example, the University of California, Merced, will use green chemistry and redesigned laboratory courses to draw more students into chemistry research. The awardees also include five community colleges and three other universities that rarely get NSF funding. “This new program seeks to support growth at HSIs that have traditionally lacked federal resources,” Jim Lewis, NSF’s acting assistant director for education and human resources, said in a press release.


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