Better Teachers, Smarter Students: National Science Foundation Grant Will Impact STEM Education in New York State Schools

Dr. Oriz (l) and Dr. Matias (r)

“Right now far too many intelligent and talented students are leaking out of the educational pipeline,” said SUNY Empire State College Professor Dr. Phillip A. Ortiz, area coordinator and mentor in Natural Science at the college’s Center for Distance Learning. That’s why Ortiz and faculty colleague Dr. Audi Matias worked on a grant proposal to bring mentoring resources middle school students interested in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

 Ortiz and Matias played a key role in writing and winning this $2.95 million National Science Foundation grant written to SUNY, the New York Academy of Sciences, and SUNY Empire State College.  The grant will help bring to scale a successful afterschool program in which SUNY graduate students and postdoctoral fellows mentor middle schoolers from high-need school districts in STEM-related topics.

 “The need for students to be more proficient in STEM subjects is increasing. By collaborating, we can help more K-12 students succeed while also providing graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with the opportunity to earn credit and become better teachers. I look forward to continued work on this project,” said Ortiz.