Federal Grant to Help Los Medanos with Science


PBy Matt Krupnick
Contra Costa Times
© Copyright 2011, Bay Area News Group

Posted: 09/28/2011 04:38:44 PM PDT

Los Medanos College has received a $4.25 million federal grant to help attract students to math, science and engineering fields.The five-year grant from the Department of Education will give the Pittsburg community college the resources to prepare high school students for careers in those fields and to help college students transfer to four-year schools, said Carol Hernandez, who coordinates the college's MESA -- Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement -- program.

"We're hoping to have a larger presence in the high schools," she said. "We've got to make (those disciplines) cool."Of the 231 Los Medanos students who transferred in 2009, only 45 were science, technology, engineering or math -- commonly abbreviated as S.T.E.M. -- majors, Hernandez said. Many students who start college in those programs become discouraged by their lack of math knowledge and drop out of school, she said.

The grant will help Los Medanos prevent dropouts by offering accelerated math courses, Hernandez said."If it takes them two years before they can even start taking S.T.E.M. courses, that can be discouraging," she said. "What we're hoping to do is shorten that process."


Matt Krupnick covers higher education. Contact him at 510-208-6488. Follow him at Twitter.com/MattKrupnick.