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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Inter American University of Puerto Rico San Juan
  • Alok Arun
  • (787) 857-4040
  • Nydia Rodriguez
Award Date:07/23/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 2,019,310
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 1,110,174
  • FY 2019=$1,110,174
Start Date:10/01/2019
End Date:09/30/2024
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.076
Primary Program Source:040106 NSF Education & Human Resource
Award Title or Description:Increasing Student Engagement and Retention in STEM through advancing Research Experience and Knowledge in Marine Biotechnology
Federal Award ID Number:1928792
DUNS ID:090112079
Parent DUNS ID:090112079
Program:HSI-Hispanic Serving Instituti
Program Officer:
  • Erika Tatiana Camacho
  • (703) 292-2834

Awardee Location

Street:Central Office of the System
City:San Juan
County:San Juan
Awardee Cong. District:00

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Inter American University of Puerto Rico
Cong. District:00

Abstract at Time of Award

ABSTRACT With support from the Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI Program), this Track 1 project aims to increase undergraduate student interest, retention and success in Biological Sciences. This collaborative project at the Barranquitas and Guayama campuses of the Inter American University of Puerto Rico will carry forward the goals of the HSI Program in economically disadvantaged, rural areas of Puerto Rico. The project will target those points along the academic pipeline that represent critical transitions at which students are most likely to switch to non-STEM major or drop-out of college and will do so through innovative changes in STEM teaching and learning. Puerto Rico being an island offers a plethora of opportunities in Marine Biotechnology from the standpoint of research as well as industrial applications. However, there has been very little progress in this direction, chiefly due to a serious lack of educational offerings in the area of marine biotechnology at institutions of higher education in Puerto Rico, which in turn translates into lack of trained personnel in this area. By introducing a minor concentration in Marine Biotechnology, along with an elective course in Blue Chemistry at the undergraduate level, this project aims to revitalize the undergraduate biology program, as well as train undergraduates to assume roles in academia, policy-making and industry. The specific goals of this project are (1) enhancing Hispanic student opportunities attaining degrees in STEM education through critical transition utilizing new courses and curriculum revision; and 2) improving the Hispanic students' STEM learning experience by research/problem-based learning, collaboration between two campuses and modern laboratory activities including a teaching museum. The project will generate new knowledge about how a research-focused learning experience at the undergraduate level combined with the support from tutorial services and faculty trained in modern scientific tools and techniques can contribute to higher retention and degree attainment in STEM. Further, it will generate knowledge about the impact of introducing a minor in an applied, job-oriented area of study, such as Marine Biotechnology, on the number of students choosing a STEM major. In addition, the project will assess if and how a community science center such as a marine museum can encourage high school students to enroll in STEM courses in college. The effectiveness of these interventions will be evaluated through a mixed-methods evaluation and will include a combination of the before-and-after study design and both quantitative and qualitative methods providing data for both formative and summative evaluation. The findings of this project will be disseminated widely through symposia, publications and through a dedicated website. The HSI Program aims to enhance undergraduate STEM education and build capacity at HSIs. Projects supported by the HSI Program will also generate new knowledge on how to achieve these goals. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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