N.C. A&T Receives $1.5 Million Gift to Support STEM Enrollment
A $1.5 million gift from the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation will help community college students pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro.
The gift will support the university’s new Aggie Commitment Trailblazer Scholars (ACTS) program for students transferring to NCA&T from 11 community colleges in North Carolina.
ACTS is a STEM Pathways program that will support full in-state tuition scholarships, transfer-centric learning communities, mentoring, a co-advising student success model, experiential learning opportunities and work strategy planning.
“The ACTS program is about student success and STEM Pathways, but it is also about equity in opportunities for STEM degrees,” said Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. “As part of our diversity and inclusion efforts at A&T, we are committed to removing barriers to access so that all students have opportunities to succeed.”
NCA&T examined internal data as well as information from state and national sources to develop a student-centered program to meet the needs of community college students who transfer into STEM majors.
Focus on attracting transfer students
The ACTS program is intended to help attract more transfer students to NCA&T, which aspires to enroll 1,500 new students per year coming from community colleges and other institutions from North Carolina and beyond.
“We are proud of the work happening at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and appreciate our partnership to help students move from associate to undergraduate degrees, especially in the STEM fields,” said Marilyn Foote-Hudson, executive director of the North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation.
The 11 participating community colleges have worked with NCA&T to identify best practices for successful transfer, retention and graduation. The participating community colleges are:
- Alamance Community College
- Central Piedmont Community College
- Davidson-Davie Community College
- Durham Technical Community College
- Fayetteville Technical Community College
- Forsyth Technical Community College
- Guilford Technical Community College
- Johnston Community College
- Richmond Community College
- Rockingham Community College
- Wake Technical Community College
As part of a statewide program, ACTS team members will work with similar programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University to share best practices in support of community college transfer students. Additionally, NCA&T will expand its ACTS partnerships to include other North Carolina community colleges that have articulation and dual enrollment agreements with the university.
“It is exciting to see this important investment in bridging the gap and advancing academic STEM opportunities in a way that has regional and statewide significance, leveraging the strength of NCA&T and our community college system,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of the Piedmont Triad Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
The North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation is an independent charity established by the British pharmaceutical company’s U.S. arm, which has major operations in Research Triangle Park and Zebulon.
The foundation supports programs that help advance science, health and education in North Carolina. Since its establishment in 1986, it has awarded $77.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
Second STEM gift this year
The gift to NCA&T is the second major gift to the university this year for STEM education. In January Corning provided $5.5 million mainly to prepare students for STEM and STEM teaching careers through scholarships and related opportunities.
“There is a compelling need for industry and academic collaboration as the demands for skilled workforce continue to accelerate,” Johnston said. “These focused scholarships are vital to creating pathways to connect talent with opportunity.”
Corning employs more than 4,000 people in North Carolina. Across its Optical Communications and Life Sciences divisions, it operates facilities in Hickory, Newton, Concord, Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Wilmington, Tarboro and Durham.
NCA&T is the nation’s largest historically Black university with an enrollment of nearly 13,000 full-time and part-time students. It one of the state’s two land grant universities and is the nation’s top producer of Black engineering graduates with bachelor’s degrees.