Community Colleges enroll a higher percentage of Hispanic students than any other sector of higher education. Moreover, U.S. institutions of higher education are experiencing a growth trajectory of Hispanic student enrollment, with more than 2.3 million students currently enrolled. Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) are essential points of access because they enroll a majority of all Hispanic college students and nearly half of all HSIs are community colleges. This project will bridge two NSF initiatives: Mentor-Connect (M-C) (DUE-1204463 and DUE-1501183) and KickStarter (KS) (HRD-1450661). These initiatives support community and technical colleges in learning about funding opportunities in relevant STEM programs at the NSF, and mentor institutional teams (faculty and administrators) in developing their project ideas, crafting a proposal, and submitting to the program of interest. To date, these two programs have collectively served 32 HSIs in nine states, with student enrollments ranging from 400 to 40,000 and Hispanic enrollment percentages ranging from 27% to 97%.
This project will enable Mentor-Connect and KickStarter to work together to: 1) support three annual cohorts of four teams from Community College-HSIs (CC-HSIs) with a program that combines the expertise of the two initiatives; 2) support the cohorts with mentors who are experienced ATE PIs, and/or with HSI-relevant ATE resources; 3) collect data on the effectiveness of the bridging strategy and augmentation activities; and 4) assess the impact as a proof of concept model for the ATE program (or any NSF program) to become more ethnically and racially diverse.