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UPR in Aguadilla receives $1.8M for its advances in STEM education

The University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla (UPR-Aguadilla) has been awarded $1.8 million for two projects under the Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) by the U.S. Department of Education.

These grants are intended to “strengthen and enrich” the institution’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs, focusing on improving the recruitment, retention and graduation of minority students in STEM fields.

“The U.S. Department of Education received more than 200 proposals from across the nation for the MSEIP program and only 20 projects were selected to receive funding. It’s an outstanding achievement for the UPR-Aguadilla that two of these 20 grants have been awarded to our Institution,” said Jesús Lee Borges, a professor in the college’s Department of Natural Sciences.

The two projects that were selected to receive this funding are the “SOLARIS Project: Supporting Opportunities for Learning, Awareness and Inclusion in STEM and Citizen Science,” led by Nancy Cardona-Cordero; and the “CONNECT Project: Creating Opportunities through Networking, Education, Community-building, and Training,” directed by Jesús Lee-Borges.

“We’re committed to creating an inclusive and enriching learning environment that encourages the participation of students from underrepresented groups in STEM,” said Cardona-Cordero. “With this grant, we’ll be able to expand our initiatives and make STEM accessible to everyone.”

Meanwhile, Lee-Borges said, “Our goal is to establish strong partnerships with schools in our region and provide substantial support to students who aspire to successful careers in STEM. This grant will empower us to forge a community of learning and development that will have a transformative impact on the lives of our students.”

In addition to efforts in education and training, the grants will allow the remodeling and improvement of academic facilities and outdoor areas at UPR-Aguadilla. This will include the renovation of classrooms and biology laboratories, as well as creating spaces that are more conducive to outdoor activities and learning, “providing an advanced and engaging learning environment for STEM students,” school officials said.

“These grants are testimonies of the commitment of the University of Puerto Rico in Aguadilla to STEM education and the inclusion of students from minority groups in these disciplines. At UPR Aguadilla, we want to provide all the necessary tools for the comprehensive growth of our students,” said Sonia Rivera-González, rector of the institution.

“We’re excited about the potential impact these projects will have on our communities and the future of our students,” she said.

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