East Los Angeles College announced Thursday it was awarded a five-year, $1.6 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help veteran students earn STEM degrees and transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

“Partnering with UCLA’s Department of Bioengineering and working with ELAC’s Veterans Resource Center and other student support services departments, the NSF grant will provide much-needed academic and support services for U.S. armed forces veterans who have re-entered civilian life and are pursuing a STEM degree,” according to an ELAC statement.

The SERVES project (Success, Engagement, & Retention of Veterans in Engineering and Science) will provide 150 participating veterans with the advanced skills required for careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields, according to ELAC, which operates one of 33 Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (MESA) programs throughout the California Community Colleges system.

ELAC and UCLA “will offer a continuum of classroom performance, research internships and counseling targeting STEM veteran students from ethnic and racial minorities,” according to ELAC. “The unique strengths, training and expertise of veterans, together with incentives offered by the Post 9/11 GI bill, present an historic opportunity to increase participation of former servicemen and women in STEM education.”

For more information about East Los Angeles College’s STEM programs, go to stem.elac.edu.

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