Note to Editors: Colorado State President Albert C. Yates will chair a meeting of the Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation at 1:30-3 p.m. Nov. 1 in the Longs Peak Room at the Lory Student Center on campus. Presidents of participating institutions will attend. Reporters interested in covering the meeting can call June Greist at (970) 491-1194.
The National Science Foundation has awarded $2.5 million to Colorado State University to administer a program designed to double the number of minority undergraduate students studying science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The program, Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation, is a consortium of 13 four-year institutions and community colleges and four Native American tribes in Colorado and the Four Corners region.
The program began in 1996 with a grant from the NSF and matching funds from participating institutions. The program focuses on underrepresented American Indian, African American and Hispanic students earning bachelor’s degrees in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation is part of a national program that encompasses 28 alliances across the country.
"Over the course of this past decade, the people of Colorado have benefited greatly from CO-AMP’s efforts to support the education and graduation of ethnic minority students," said Colorado State President Albert C. Yates. "Since 1996, through CO-AMP, we’ve built a strong alliance among our state’s colleges, universities and four tribal nations – all of whom share a commitment to increasing participation of under-represented populations in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. We’re proud to receive this support for continuing these efforts."
The grant sets specific goals to increase the number of under-represented minority students who earn bachelor’s degrees in an effort to increase diversity in these scientific fields in industry and teaching. The program also will begin to reach out to fifth, sixth and seventh grade students to introduce them to science and technology. In addition, the grant will enable administers to track undergraduate students and introduce initiatives to encourage graduate study. Administers will work in conjunction with another NSF-funded program, Colorado PEAKS Alliance, to provide minorities with opportunities to obtain doctoral degrees and enter careers in higher education. The CO-AMP alliance also will collaborate with the Colorado Institute of Technology to increase the number of students pursuing careers in technology.
The goal of the Colorado project is to help 800 or more Hispanic, African American and Native American students per year graduate with degrees in science, mathematics, engineering or technology by the end of the five-year grant. Currently, about half, or about 400 students, earn degrees in these fields annually.
The alliance organizes an annual research conference that allows undergraduates to showcase their research and meet with industry representatives and NSF officials. A variety of organizations offer internships to participating students. Programs that bridge students’ high-school and college experiences are also offered. Undergraduate students are conducting funded research at most Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation colleges and universities. The alliance also raises funds for programs that introduce junior- and high-school students to technology at an early age.
"Increased diversity in these fields is crucial," said Omnia El-Hakim, director and principal investigator of Colorado Alliance for Minority Participation. "The success we’ve achieved over the past five years has shown the support we can provide helps minority students to succeed. The second phase of this project will allow us to continue to build bridges between the public high schools, community colleges, colleges, universities and industry to support these students."
Information about the alliance is available on the Web at http://lamar.colostate.edu/~coamp.