Regional program creates financial opportunities for minority STEM students

Allison Speir 

aspeir@uccs.edu  

The Colorado-Wyoming Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (CO-WY AMP) is part of the National Science Foundation and was originally only a resource for Colorado students. According to their website, the University of Wyoming and Central Wyoming College joined the program in 2016.  

     This regional program has continued helping underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields achieve their higher education goals for well over 20 years. 

     This semester, Vicki Taylor, a staff member in the Pre-Collegiate Success and Support Center and coordinator of the CO-WY AMP program at UCCS, was given the resources from Colorado State University (CSU) Fort Collins to provide UCCS minority STEM students with a one-time $1,000 grant toward their education. The grant money originates from the National Science Foundation and is given to CSU Fort Collins to distribute to UCCS students. 

     CO-WY AMP provides grants, internships and career resources to minority STEM students. The goal of this program is to increase graduation rates, stimulate enrollment in graduate programs and help provide resources to enrich these students’ degree paths.  

     There are specific guidelines as to which students are classified as “underrepresented minorities.” According to Taylor, students who are African American, Hispanic, Native American, Alaska Native and Pacific Islander may qualify for assistance. In order to receive grant money, students must also be United States citizens. 

     CO-WY AMP supports students in specific STEM fields, and a full list of approved majors can be found here.  

     Taylor explained that in the past she “focused on supporting STEM minority students with professional conference attendance and internships, but due to the pandemic, decided to support students directly this year with a one-time stipend payment.” 

     These funds need to be utilized before Sept. 30. When Taylor reached out to STEM professors to notify their students about this grant, the program had a high volume of applications. Last week, submissions for the grant were closed due to the substantial number of applicants. 

     “UCCS is one of fifteen partner institutions with CSU Ft. Collins that was awarded the grant.  My goal this year was to support STEM minority undergraduate students in the best way I knew how during this difficult time.” 

     For Taylor, this means providing students directly with the necessary support and resources available.  

     Money for this grant is awarded in five-year time blocks. UCCS is currently working with CSU Fort Collins to apply for another five years of funds, but UCCS’s eligibility for the extension has not yet been determined.  

     In addition to this grant, Taylor explained that there are many other resources for minority STEM students on the UCCS campus. To find out more, she recommends reaching out to advising faculty and also join student clubs such as National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Women Engineers (SWE) or others based on student careers. 

     To learn more about CO-WY AMP, see their website

Feature Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash