Vaughn College has been competitively awarded nearly $3 million over five years as part of the Department of Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) grant funding initiative. The funding is designed to assist with strengthening institutional programs, facilities, and services to expand the educational opportunities for Hispanic Americans and other underrepresented populations. The funding received by Vaughn will close the equity gap and increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who have access to complete articulated new degree pathways in high-need science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

“This grant supports the College’s vision to provide a transformational education that creates a lifetime of opportunity,” said Vaughn College President Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo. “Funding support of this magnitude allows us to develop degree programs, including cutting-edge laboratories, in areas that have incredible demand long-term providing students and their families assurance of a pathway to success.”

Vaughn will develop a computer engineering degree with a focus on cybersecurity content. This grant will also support the expansion of new undergraduate courses in the area. As technology advances, cyber threats increase in frequency and the demand for cybersecurity professionals is exceeding the supply. This grant supports high-need careers in automation engineering, computer hardware engineering and cybersecurity.

Vaughn College will support strategies that facilitate Hispanic and low-income students transition through upper division studies in high demand STEM fields, strengthen program equity for all students through robust outreach to high school and community colleges and through formal articulation agreements with community colleges. The program will include stackable certifications and innovative active-learning curriculum combined with targeted faculty professional development.

Working to increase opportunities for this target population to earn degrees in STEM, Vaughn College will develop partnerships with local employers and expose students to a comprehensive internship program. 

The principal investigator and Hispanic engineer, Assistant Professor Dr. Miguel Bustamante collaborated on this grant with Engineering and Technology Department Chair Dr. Hossein Rahemi. 

“The grant allows HSIs to enhance the quality of their programs, academic offerings, and institutional stability,” expressed Bustamante. “We look forward to utilizing this grant to expand our work with underserved student populations to guide them on their path to success.” 

To apply for a grant under Title V programs, an institution must have at least 25 percent enrollment of undergraduate full-time equivalent Hispanic students. 

To further Vaughn’s development of new, cutting-edge engineering content, Bustamante along with his colleague Associate Professor Dr. Shouling He, a mechatronic engineering expert, recently drafted and submitted a National Science Foundation grant concentrating on electric vehicle engineering and repair. Bustamante is a recent fellow of Mentor-Connect, a highly regarded mentoring program that curates technical resources and instruction to help faculty prepare competitive proposals to submit to the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF/ATE) program. The program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy.