Program Builds Interest in Science Among Minorities

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Recent MCC graduates
Nickesha Anderson and Mai Fujiwara.
Manchester, Conn., - (July 23, 2008)… Nickesha Anderson knew she wanted to become a doctor after being misdiagnosed and nearly losing her life. “I wanted to become a doctor so I can help saves lives, and provide better health care, especially for people living in third world countries,” said Anderson, a recent MCC graduate.

For Anderson, 20, of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and MCC graduate Mai Fujiwara, 21, of Kumamoto, Japan, science is their passion and their life goal. With the shortage in the number of minorities and women interested in science, Anderson and Fujiwara are breaking the mold and, through the STRONG-CT program, helping to create a new atmosphere for diversity and inclusion in science.

The Science and Technology Reaching Out to New Generations in Connecticut (STRONG-CT) program targets minority and first generation college students that have an interest in obtaining a degree and pursuing a career in the life sciences.

The program is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation and represents an alliance between the University of Connecticut, Manchester Community College, Quinebaug Valley Community College and Three Rivers Community College. Students in the STRONG-CT program will earn an associate degree at one of the selected community colleges before transferring to UConn for a baccalaureate degree. Examples of degree programs in the life sciences include: Agriculture and Natural Resources, Animal Science, Biological Sciences, Environmental Science, Physiology and Neurobiology.

“With the under-representation of minorities in science, the STRONG-CT program provides a bridge for students and provides them with the skills necessary to succeed,” stated Teshia Levy-Grant, coordinator of the STRONG-CT program. “Nickesha and Mai took advantage of the program and proved that studying science is not only a realistic goal, but it is attainable.”

Once enrolled in the program, the STRONG-CT students receive support services to guide them through their educational process and provide practical knowledge in life sciences.

The main components of the STRONG-CT program are the rigorous individual and group academic support for the core science and math courses, mentoring relationships, research opportunities, leadership workshops, outreach projects that allow the students to bring what they have learned back to their communities, and career counseling to become fully aware of the possibilities after graduation.

“The STRONG-CT program helps to concretize the information you are learning in the classroom and provide real life applications,” stated Fujiwara.

Fujiwara earned an associate degree in liberal arts and science with a concentration in biology and Anderson earned an associate degree in liberal arts and science.

“I am a first generation college student, and this program gave me exposure to different experiences; my family is proud of my accomplishments, I have set the mark for the rest of my siblings,” said Anderson.

Anderson and Fujiwara currently reside in Bloomfield.

Students who are interested in enrolling in the STRONG-CT program must meet the community college or UConn admissions requirements and be eligible for college level work in mathematics and English. In addition, applicants must intend to pursue life sciences and be first generation college students or part of a historically underrepresented group in the field of science, including African Americans, Latinos or Native Americans.

For more information on the STRONG-CT program at Manchester Community College, contact Teshia Levy-Grant at (860) 512-2710.

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Students of any age who possess the desire to pursue higher education are welcome at Manchester Community College. MCC is proud of its academic excellence, new facilities, flexible schedules, small classes, low tuition and faculty with both academic and “real world” credentials. The College offers over 60 programs, transfer options, financial aid and scholarships, as well as access to baccalaureate degrees through guaranteed admissions programs with several universities. MCC is situated on a park-like campus and is easily accessible from I-84.
News Item Posted On: July 23, 2008
For Additional Information Contact: Endia DeCordova-Murphy at (860) 512-2914