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$2M Grants Target First-Generation STEM Majors At UCF

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Part of the $2.2 million awards will go toward preparing first-generation and low-income students at UCF for STEM careers.

For first-generation college students, the path to graduation can be rocky. However, a $2.2 million award from the U.S. Department of Education will help them prepare become future doctors and engineers.

The University of Central Florida will receive more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Education for its PRIME STEM program and Student Support Services. Both programs equip more than 200 low-income students with the personal, academic, and financial tools to advance in careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

“Things like when they should even start the process taking standardized tests like the ACT or the SAT,” added director Rebekah McCloud. “Many of them, they don’t know what to do and when to do it, and so sometimes they end up missing them both.”

McCloud lets students know they have unlimited options in STEM fields.

“In technology, we have all kinds of areas from cyber crimes to folks who put together computers. Software design. In mathematics, you know, we still need a lot of mathematicians.”

More than 200 first-generation and low-income students have gone through the program since it started five years ago.

Over 80 have graduated and landed jobs or gone off to medical, pharmacy, or grad school.

Renata Sago is a reporter at WMFEin Orlando. WMFE is part of Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.