West Hills College Lemoore Earns Two Grants from National Science Foundation

West Hills College Lemoore has earned two grants to fund teacher preparation and STEM education: the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Got Math grant for $90,000 and the Scholarships in STEM S-STEM Grant for $993,347, both awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The S-STEM grant program “addresses the need for a high quality STEM workforce in STEM disciplines supported by the program and for the increased success of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).” The grant will primarily fund scholarships, with an estimated $651,000 going directly to students in that form.

“Supplemental funds like this are essential to our goal of supporting students.” said Brian Boomer, Director of Grants at West Hills Community College District. “They really help. Earning a grant like this is important because it gives national credibility to our engineering and science programs and it’s going to improve our students’ chances of finding work or transferring when they put on their resume that they were an NSF S-STEM scholar.”

The 5-year grant will fund a program called CORES: Creating Opportunities for Retention in Engineering and Science. More than just a scholarship program, this initiative will also provide support for undergraduate student research, mentoring and more.

An estimated 40 scholarships per year will be awarded to approximately 200 students. Each student will receive a $3,000 scholarship per semester.

As part of the program, students will receive one-on-one mentoring from a STEM faculty member, college and industry visits, and the chance to attend national conferences.

$51,000 has been set aside for undergraduate research stipends. Students who are STEM scholars and want to participate in research in any of the STEM pathways will be able to work with a faculty member and industry partner to conduct it. An estimated 34 of these stipends, at $1,500 a piece will be awarded over the course of the grant.

STEM scholars will also attend monthly meetings, get extra tutoring and wear a special stole at graduation.

According to Boomer, WHCL was selected for this grant for a very specific reason: Enrollment of minority women at WHCL is much higher than the national average of 22.6%, at a total of 61%.

“We want to find out why we’re so good at enrolling and graduating this population and share our conclusions with the rest of the country,” Boomer said.

The grant will fund an external evaluator and education researcher, to evaluate and provide suggestions for improvements to the WHCL STEM program.

In addition to the STEM grant, WHCL has also received a sub-award in the amount of $90,000 for the 5-year Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program Got Math grant in partnership with California State University, Fresno. The grant will provide two $10,000 scholarships each year for two community college students joining the integrated Credential program.  

This grant will support WHCL’s teacher preparation efforts and help the continuing development of a future teacher pipeline from West Hills College Lemoore to CSU Fresno.