ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The University at Albany (UAlbany) has been awarded a $2.5M grant which will aim to provide new, more inclusive approaches to teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, as well as implement a student support network to improve retention and graduation. The grant comes from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).

“This prestigious grant from HHMI is a powerful validation of UAlbany’s work to ensure both that our student body reflects New York’s rich diversity and that every student has the resources and support to succeed,” said University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez. “In order to continue to lead in the tech economy, our country and our state need to diversify their STEM workforces. UAlbany is committed to leading the way with innovative, data-driven practices that will help ensure equitable access to these life-changing careers.” 

The program, EXCELlence in STEM, is based on an existing STEM support network at UAlbany. UAlbany says the program has shown to benefit current STEM majors, with greater positive impacts on STEM majors from historically underrepresented backgrounds. The University believes it will show similar results on a larger scale.

The five-year grant comes through HHMI’s Driving Change initiative. The initiative looks to promote culture changes at research universities and help ensure students from all backgrounds, particularly those from historically excluded groups, will be well-prepared for leadership roles in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.