If you want STEM to grow, you first need to plant the seed.
To that end, Stevens Institute of Technology announced the launch of a major initiative called Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science), which will provide enhanced opportunities, including financial support, for underserved students and those from underrepresented minority (URM) groups to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and technology-infused degrees and careers. Bolstered by a strategic commitment of university leadership, as well as financial commitments from the university and its partners to reduce barriers to participation, ACES will foster mutually-beneficial and lasting relationships with high school partners in underserved communities who are committed to increasing opportunities for talented students with significant financial need, particularly URM students.
“There is a growing gap between the jobs that are in high demand and the people who have skills to fill them. Over the next ten years, eighty percent of careers will require a deep understanding of STEM skills. But more than half of students today struggle to meet basic math requirements,” said Congressman Payne. “The ACES initiative will pave the way for minorities and underserved populations to enter STEM-related fields. These young people will shape the way science, technology, engineering — and yes, math — affect our daily lives. And they will be positioned to create a future in which technology reflects the strength of America’s diverse communities.”
“The ACES program is an important initiative that reflects Stevens’ institutional mission to equalize and expand access to a Stevens education while also addressing the acute need for building a workforce with a technology orientation, especially given the important and growing role of technology in human progress and economic development,” said Dr. Farvardin.
Dr. Farvardin added, “ACES would not be successful without the enthusiastic participation and support of our alumni and partners, among them, many companies and foundations. These partnerships will provide the means to empower talented young students and foster their excitement about opportunities in science and technology, while also providing access to the resources and support they need in high school, during their undergraduate career and beyond, as alumni.”
The program, which includes both pre-college and undergraduate components, builds upon and leverages the capabilities of a number of Stevens resources and constituencies–including faculty, students, alumni, academic and student life support services, pre-college programs, admissions and financial aid, and teacher/guidance counselor programs. Stevens will provide full-tuition scholarships to its Summer Pre-College Program to eligible ACES students from partner high schools, enabling them to experience college life and inspiring them to pursue a STEM-focused college education. The students’ experience will lay the foundation for successful careers and further positive impact on their communities.
Students who choose to pursue undergraduate studies at Stevens will become part of a learning community who will benefit from well-established resources that have propelled previous students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to exceptional outcomes. A key resource for students is the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program (STEP), which offers a wide range of services and programs to support the students’ success, and encourages their academic, professional, cultural and personal development. The support begins with the Bridge Summer Program and continues during the academic year.
ACES partner schools will also benefit from a number of dedicated services, including scholarship support for pre-college programs, mentorship programs, and teacher and guidance counselor professional development, among others. The Stevens Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) will provide ACES partners with STEM professional development programs for high school science and mathematics teachers that emphasize high quality, standards-based, technology-integrated curricula, as well as programming for school counselors.
Nate Davis, a Stevens alumnus and executive chairman of K12, a leading provider of online curriculum and support services, was instrumental in the creation of ACES with university leadership. Davis commented, “ACES is a major commitment that Stevens and all its partners are undertaking. It is one that will change lives and support those motivated students to achieve.”
The 2017-18 launch will include New Jersey public, charter and Catholic schools in Newark, Paterson, Hoboken, Jersey City, as well as Brooklyn, New York, with a high percentage of underserved and URM students. Each partner high school administrator will nominate up to three students, with the goal of enrolling at least 20 ACES students in the summer 2018 Pre-College Program. Nominated students must meet certain criteria and complete the online application by the February 15, 2018 deadline. Twenty first-year undergraduate students will be selected to participate in ACES at Stevens for fall 2018; these students will be given special consideration for financial aid.
Shahid Malik, President of PSEG Energy Resources and Trade, praised Stevens for its dedication to enhancing opportunities for underserved students and noted the university’s achievement being named as one of the top 25 ‘Most Innovative Schools’ in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. “PSEG is proud of its long-standing partnership with Stevens,” said Mr. Malik. “ACES is an exceptional program and we look forward to seeing it produce great results.”
Stevens has been on an extraordinary upward trajectory over the last six years, and according to data compiled by U.S. News & World Report, is the second fastest rising university among the top 100 national universities in the U.S. Given the university’s progress, it is an opportune time to create intentional efforts to increase the participation and success of underserved and URM students at Stevens.
Additional details about Stevens ACES is available on the website.