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NMC awarded $1.5M grant to advance STEM education (September 15, 2020)

Northern Marianas College has been awarded a $1.5 million grant to advance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM education and career exploration through its Project PROA program.

The grant, which will be awarded over the next five years, will also provide financial literacy education to students and their families.

Project PROA is a federally funded program under the U.S. Department of Education Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions Program.

This is the second time that NMC is receiving this five-year grant. The original five-year grant was awarded back in 2015 and helped to provide important student services and assistance.

“We are thankful for this notification from the U.S. Department of Education and look forward to expanding the services that our students can access to succeed in the priority areas identified by the grant,” NMC Interim President Frankie Eliptico said.

Project PROA program provides free academic tutoring and college mentoring to high school and college students, and holds academic and cultural activities and workshops; the program also holds an annual summer bridge program which helps high school students successfully transition to college. Additionally, the program purchased Achieve 3000 to support the college’s students in developmental English courses.

“Project PROA’s mentoring and tutoring has really helped me to succeed in all my college classes. The services they provided allowed me to smoothly navigate my way through my academic courses as well as open up new experiences for me as a participant and later on as a Project PROA tutor,” said Nathan Angui, NMC Class of 2019 and former Project PROA tutor.

The program is staffed by Hedwig Hofschneider, director; Malyssa Castro, program coordinator; Kyanna Tenorio, administrative assistant; Maria Aguon, Tinian site coordinator; Diana Hocog, acting Rota site coordinator; 17 student tutors and mentors.

The primary population served by the program are Chamorro and Carolinian students; however, as a federally funded program, Project PROA assists all enrolled students. The program serves students on Saipan, Tinian and Rota and is housed at Northern Marianas College.

NMC was first granted an award to begin Project PROA in 2015, but due to Typhoon Soudelor, the program did not begin until August 2016.

The Project PROA team, with support from NMC grants manager William Torres, received assistance from NMC’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness, Financial Aid Office, Office of Institutional Advancement, and other departments on campus to help prepare the grant application for submission. Additionally, the Public School System’s Office of Curriculum and Instruction provided data support.

NMC also received letters of support from the Office of the Governor, the Office of U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the offices of the CNMI Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, the education committee chairmen of the CNMI House of Representatives and Senate — Rep. Roman Benavente and Senate Floor Leader Justo Quitugua — Commissioner of Education Dr. Alfred Ada, the Public School System, the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, the Carolinian Affairs Office, the Indigenous Affairs Office, the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, 500 Sails, and the Micronesian Islands Nature Alliance.

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