National Science Foundation Awards Hostos Community College Over $900,000 for STEM Projects

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 (Bronx, NY) – Eugenio María de Hostos Community College is pleased to announce that it has received grants totaling $909,214 from the National Science Foundation for two STEM projects. The proposal submitted to the “Stem Educators Expansion Directive” (SEED) initiative for Chemistry and Environmental Science was awarded $299,079 from the Robert Noyce Capacity Building Project; and the “Designing Future for Games: Games for Multi-Media” proposal was awarded $610,135 from the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. Both grants are effective as of October 1, 2012.

“The Hostos family is deeply grateful to the National Science Foundation (NSF) for these grants, which constitute an acknowledgement of the importance of our mission as well as the high caliber of our faculty in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.  This support from the NSF will help Hostos fulfill its commitment to improve K-12 education in the Bronx and thereby contribute to the continuing advancement of our community and the city as a whole,” said Hostos President Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

Professor Sarah Church, Principal Investigator for the SEED initiative, undertook this project because she recognized the vital importance of recruiting and cultivating potential candidates for the STEM fields from underrepresented populations such as those served by Hostos.

Project SEED has four main objectives:

  • First, to align the curricula of Hostos’ STEM courses and programs with those required for chemistry and environmental science majors at Lehman College with a minor in education, in order to create two joint-degree/dual-admission programs that will enable Hostos graduates to transfer seamlessly to Lehman to earn their bachelor’s degrees.
  • Second, to leverage existing partnerships with the American Museum of Natural History and the Black Rock Forest Station to create summer internships and semester workshops that will provide Hostos students with field experiences, teacher preparation, and other research opportunities related to chemistry and environmental science.
  • Third, to create a bridge program with an intensive screening process in order to identify the Hostos students who are most likely to succeed in a Noyce Scholarship program and offer them extensive mentoring and advisement to ensure their successful transition to Lehman.
  • Last, to formulate an effective public relations and recruitment plan to inform potential students about SEED at Hostos, so that prospective STEM majors are aware of opportunities for careers in education.

The SEED project team at Hostos Community College are Professor Vladimir Ovtcharenko (Natural Sciences), Co-PI; Professor Ross Flek (Mathematics), Co-PI; Professor Francisco Fernández (Natural Science), Specialist; and Professor Sarah Sandman (Digital Design), Digital Shop.

The SEED partners at Lehman College are Professor Gustavo López (Chemistry), Co-PI; Professor Yuri Gorokhovich (Earth, Environmental, and Geospatial Sciences), Co-PI; and Professor Orlando Alonzo (Education), Education Curriculum Specialist.

Dr. Carmen Coballes-Vega, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, commented: “Through this capacity-building grant, Hostos Community College is well positioned for its collaboration with Lehman College to prepare candidates who will be able to address the new societal needs in chemistry and environmental science. With the Game Design program, the opportunity for faculty and students to share in new teaching, learning, and research approaches will definitely motivate and create new circles of learning across mathematics and science areas.”

The ATE award for Professor Catherine Lewis’ & Professor Rees Shad’s “Designing Futures with Games: Game Framed Math & Science” will facilitate Media Design students’ understanding of STEM-based subjects by framing math and science within game design. This will serve as the foundation for programming-centric courses and provide students with the skills they need to pursue careers in interactive media as well as other STEM-centric fields.

These goals will be achieved through a redesign of current remedial and college-level math and science curricula, through the implementation of G-FMS curricula in a Summer Games Institute for secondary school students, and through professional development workshops for college and secondary school educators interested in adopting our pedagogical approach.

The Media Design programs have become some of the college’s most sought-after offerings. The NSF/ATE Award enlarges the department’s curricula since the opening of its state-of-the-art Sound Design Studio last spring. Now Hostos students can engage in technology and skill developing courses that are innovative and relevant.

The Designing Futures with Games project will include a team of Hostos faculty assisting Professor Lewis and Professor Shad, which will include Professor Sherese Mitchell (Education), Professor William Baker (Mathematics), Professor Nelson Nuñez-Rodríguez (Biology), and Professor Francisco Fernández (Physics).

To learn more about the Robert Noyce Scholarship Program and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, please visit the National Science Foundation website at:

About Hostos Community College:
Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the fall of 1970, to over 7,000 students in the spring of 2012. The College also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit

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