WHITTIER – Rio Hondo College will receive $1.1 million in grants over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education to help low-income, first-generation and underrepresented college students pursue transfers to four-year universities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors.

The College’s TRIO/Student Support Services (SSS) Program will receive $220,000 annually to serve 120 program participants.

“STEM skills are a primary focus for Rio Hondo College as we seek to prepare our students for their future college goals or for our increasingly demanding 21st century marketplace,” said Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss.

“This grant will help us to build on our strong foundation of leadership in this area.”

Rio Hondo College has been a leader in STEM skills advocacy since 2008, when it created its Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program. MESA provides SSS-eligible students with a supportive peer group and enrichment activities as they pursue STEM studies.

With the funds, the college will continue to increase the number of STEM students who graduate from Rio Hondo and transfer to four-year institutions as STEM majors. In addition to MESA’s peer-facilitated Academic Excellence Workshops, where students engage in problem-based learning,
the program offers a broad array of services triggered by students’ specific needs.

Services include personal coaching, personal success plans, comprehensive counseling, time-management guidance, community building and financial literacy education.

“This grant is a testament to Rio Hondo’s pioneering work in
the field of STEM education support,” Rio Hondo Board of Trustees President Madeline Shapiro said. “With these new funds, we will be able to achieve even greater success in helping our STEM-focused students achieve their dreams.”