September 22, 2021

Morgan Community College Receives $4.7 Million Hispanic-Serving Institutions Program STEM Grant

Fort Morgan, CO  9/22/2021.  Morgan Community College (MCC) received notice from United States Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet on September 14, 2021, that the college has been selected to receive a Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) grant through the United States Department of Education.  The grant provides $989,740 in the first year and the opportunity to receive additional funding for a total of $4,705,749 over five years.

MCC obtained official HSI status in fall 2018.  “Hispanic serving institutions like Morgan Community College educate the next generation of leaders,” stated U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper. “Their great work helps enrich our communities, start innovative businesses, and promote more equitable institutions.”

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet expressed his support, stating “Congratulations to Morgan Community College on receiving a STEM grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant will provide Latino and first-generation MCC students a tremendous opportunity to pursue a STEM education and successfully compete for good-paying careers in STEM.” 

The HSI Program STEM grant enables institutions like MCC to develop and implement activities to improve and expand their capacity to serve Hispanic and low-income students. Grant funding begins October 1, 2021. MCC will partner with Colorado State University (CSU), located in Fort Collins Colorado. CSU is a land grant university with an extension office in Morgan County that creates a natural, close alliance between the two institutions. 

“Colorado State University (CSU) and College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (CVMBS) look forward to our partnership with MCC to encourage and foster success in STEM,” said Dr. Mark Zabel, CSU Research Associate Dean. “CVMBS completed its new RamMobile lab, a 200-foot research lab on wheels, designed specifically to bring interesting and engaging presentations to individuals who otherwise would have little opportunity to experience real scientific research firsthand in their community. We are excited to offer these and virtual presentations to MCC students.”

MCC’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) Program STEM grant, titled “STEM Preparacion, Equidad y Exito” (Preparation, Equity, and Success) includes three primary activities:

Preparacion will involve outreach to area high schools to help students learn more about STEM careers and educational opportunities. Strategy for outreach will be developed to serve K-12 students.

Equidad will provide a variety of resources to MCC STEM students to bring equity among students, regardless of ethnicity and background. This will include improving facilities; providing advising, tutoring, mentoring, and referrals; and offering opportunities to participate in research and MCC’s summer bridge program.

Exito will focus on improving resources for faculty to assist students in achieving success in their courses. Faculty will attend training to help incorporate culturally relevant programming into coursework.

“The HSI Program STEM Grant provides MCC with additional resources that will open doors for students who may not have believed they could pursue a career in a STEM field,” said Kathleen Frisbie, MCC Vice President of Instruction. “This is an exciting opportunity to empower those students and lead them on a journey to achieve those dreams.”

Secondary and post-secondary students from throughout northeast Colorado will experience increased STEM outreach and opportunities to participate in projects to help inspire interest in STEM education and careers.  Only 11% of MCC students declare STEM as an area of interest, yet opportunities for students in these fields are numerous. This grant strives to increase the pipeline into these important fields. 

“The HSI STEM grant represents a truly transformative opportunity for Morgan Community College,” said Dr. Curt Freed, President of MCC.  “Helping underrepresented Hispanic and low-income students excel in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics education and careers is a huge opportunity for the region in terms of personal achievement and enhancing workforce and economic development.  Community colleges continue to be at the heart of economic and social mobility for our students, and this grant represents a huge step forward in MCC’s ability to help students ‘Imagine, Believe, and Achieve’ their dreams.” 

Dr. Brady Michel, Biology and STEM Academy Faculty, was part of the grant writing committee that developed the vision of the HSI program STEM grant.  Dr. Michel holds a Ph.D. in Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology and a B.S. in Microbiology and Zoology. He began his career with MCC as a part-time instructor in May 2017 and transitioned to full-time faculty in January 2018.  In his role as STEM Coordinator, Dr. Michel has worked with Morgan County high schools to offer STEM Camps, providing students with a perspective into the world of STEM and demonstrating the different educational and career opportunities students might consider.

Dr. Brady Michel reviews leg and spine bones with students during BIO 201- Human Anatomy and Physiology.

“This grant provides a great opportunity for MCC,” stated Dr. Michel. “We now have the necessary resources to reach students in our community and inspire them to pursue a career in the STEM fields.”

The HSI Program STEM Grant project will include hiring staff to help meet student needs and the objectives of the grant. For employment opportunities at Morgan Community College visit www.morgancc.edu/careers.

For more information about Morgan Community College, visit www.morgancc.edu or call 970-542-3100.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions STEM grant program is authorized by Congress under TitleIIIPartF, Section 371 of the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended by the Health Care Reconciliation and Education Affordability Act of 2010. Funding is made available through a competitive process once every five years.