A pair of newly awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Education will help CSU Monterey Bay prepare students for graduate school and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math – referred to as the STEM subjects.

The grants total $5.6 million and will be distributed over five years by the Department of Education’s Hispanic Serving Institution program. They will support the academic program and undergraduate research at CSU Monterey Bay and a partnership with Hartnell College.

The university will use the grant funds to enhance its curriculum by adding 17 new courses – and buying the equipment necessary for those classes – and updating nine existing courses in biology, marine science, computer science, chemistry and statistics.

The grant will also expand the university's commitment to undergraduate research by funding research and training opportunities; providing money to pay upper division students to assist in lower division science courses; and providing tutoring and other academic services.

Of the total amount of the award, $1.27 million is part of a collaborative grant led by Hartnell to develop a community college-to-university success program which will streamline the transfer process to STEM majors.

"These are significant and transformative projects that will have a lasting impact on our students, our campus, and our region – putting the Central Coast and the Salinas Valley at the forefront of producing California’s science, math, and technology workforce,” President Dianne Harrison said.

The grants will take the university's new and growing science majors to a new level of innovation, said Dr. Bill Head, director of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center at CSUMB.

"It will create peer support and tutoring services that will boost student success rates in science, math, and computer courses," Head said. "It will place state-of-the-art equipment in our new science classrooms. And it will take our students beyond the classroom and into the field to conduct real-world, hands-on research.”