Piedmont Virginia Community College announced today that it has received $170,000 to build a pipeline of underrepresented minority students in STEM programs. The funding was made possible through PVCC’s partnership in the Virginia-North Carolina (VA-NC) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

Led by the University of Virginia, the VA-NC Alliance strives for diversification of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, with an emphasis on increasing the number of underrepresented minority students earning baccalaureate degrees and matriculating to graduate school. Each of the 12 partner institution programs offers individually tailored recruitment, retention and enhancement activities to support students such as bridge programs, stipends, symposia, tutoring, mentoring, workshops and research experiences.

The VA-NC Alliance was recently awarded $5 million from the National Science Foundation for its third five-year phase, which starts on September 1, 2017. PVCC’s sub-award of $170,000 will be used to recruit minority students for STEM-related careers and to strengthen retention and transfer opportunities for these students through faculty mentorship, a capstone research course, summer bridge programs and partnership activities with U.Va.

“PVCC is thrilled to be part of the VA-NC Alliance,” said Jean Chappell, dean of PVCC’s Health and Life Sciences Division. “As one of only two community colleges currently participating in this initiative, the Alliance partnership provides our STEM students with a unique opportunity to collaborate on research projects with students at four-year schools while they’re still attending PVCC, as well as ease the challenges associated with transferring to a baccalaureate STEM program.”

In addition to U.Va. and PVCC, other member schools in Virginia include George Mason University; Virginia Commonwealth University; and Virginia Tech. In North Carolina, member colleges include Bennett College; Elizabeth City State University; Johnson C. Smith University; and St. Augustine’s University. New partners being added under the latest grant include Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.; Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton, Va.; and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Charlottesville, the latter which has previously worked with the alliance.

To learn more about the VA-NC Alliance, visit https://lsamp.virginia.edu. To learn more about PVCC’s STEM Programs, visit www.pvcc.edu/tech.