New STEM Center unveiled

June 12, 2018

Public Relations

Palo Alto College unveiled an all-new STEM Center with dedicated resources to support students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

The 2,200 square-foot STEM Center – located in Brazos Hall – will serve as a central location for STEM programs, services, and academic support, as well as a collaborative space for group study, tutoring, and STEM club meetings. Students can also receive peer mentoring, academic advising, career preparation, scholarship information, transfer information, participate in undergraduate research, and more.

The STEM Center's opening is one result of several years of strategic planning to promote STEM in the community, and the resources and services provided will enhance STEM students' experience at the college and beyond.

"Palo Alto College has made strategic efforts to promote STEM in our community by providing early educational access, high-caliber programs, and resources to increase students' experience with STEM programs," said Dr. Mike Flores, president of Palo Alto College. "With demand for skilled workers in STEM fields rising, it is imperative that we continue to create opportunities for our students to have resources that prepare them to fill the economic need and build a lasting career."

In 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that employment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) occupations across the country grew by 10.5 percent over a six-year period — and over 99 percent of those occupations require some type of education beyond high school. Throughout the United States, projected increases in STEM jobs through 2024 are 28.2 percent for mathematicians, 26.6 percent for web developers, 36 percent for medical scientists, and 23.1 percent for biomedical engineers.

Palo Alto College has spent several years strategically planning efforts to promote STEM in our community by providing early educational access, high-caliber programs, and scholarships to increase students' access to STEM programs. Over the last few years, Palo Alto College has been fortunate to have received several competitive STEM grants providing a total of $6.1 million to enhance STEM accessibility on campus through academic resources, scholarships, and other activities.

The STEM Center was created through funding in part from a five-year, $3.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Hispanic Serving Institutions STEM and Articulation Program, awarded to Palo Alto College in 2016. With the grant, Palo Alto College is developing and carrying out this and other initiatives that expand the College's capacity to increase the number of Hispanic and/or limited-income students pursuing and completing degrees in STEM fields.

Providing access to opportunities like a dedicated STEM Center aligns with the College's mission to empower students and the community for leadership and success.

"If you want to take a chance on a future that's fast changing in any one of the STEM fields, [Palo Alto College] is going to be prepared to walk along with you on that path," said District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña at the STEM Center ribbon cutting ceremony on June 12, 2018.

Whether students ultimately seek a career in a STEM field or pursue another passion, the College's collective focus will continue to provide all students with every resource possible to be successful throughout their educational journey and to be prepared for any and all future endeavors.