Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) $1,499,136 to support the graduation of low-income and first-generation students studying in the STEM fields. Over its six-year duration, this project will fund 43 scholarships to support full time students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences.
“Many students who are the first in their family to attend college are navigating the system alone, and this grant program will give them the resources and guidance they need to thrive in STEM fields,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I have seen firsthand the opportunities that careers in STEM can provide, and I’m dedicated to helping the next generation of diverse STEM leaders graduate from Nevada universities and colleges.”
UNLV has a large population of low-income and first-generation college students. This program will encourage students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to complete degrees in STEM by incorporating motivational activities in introductory courses, exposing students to career opportunities in STEM, and encouraging participation in undergraduate research and internships, among other methods to both inspire and secure student graduation from STEM fields.
Senator Cortez Masto has been an advocate in increased funding for institutions of higher learning that serve underrepresented students. In 2020, the senator announced two grants totaling over one million dollars by the U.S. Department of Education to Nevada colleges for the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHS) Program. The DHSI Program provides grants to assist Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to expand educational opportunities for, and improve the attainment of, Hispanic students. Senator Cortes Masto has also introduced the Student Loan Relief and College Affordability Act to reform the Pell Grant and federal student loan system to help make higher education more affordable.