Press Releases

Purchase Receives Presidential Award

Date Released: 1/24/2011

The Baccalaureate & Beyond Community College Mentoring Project at Purchase was selected to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. Details.

Dr. Joseph Skrivanek represented Purchase College at a ceremony in Washington, DC. on January 27. 

Purchase College received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for its Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Project.  This award is administered by the National Science Foundation.


Since 2000, Purchase College, State University of New York has led an innovative and highly successful Community College mentoring  project  with the goal of increasing the number of community college students who complete their Associate's degrees, transfer to four year colleges, and complete their Bachelor's degrees in the sciences. The Program was started with an initial grant from the National Institutes of Health Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program and involved three community colleges. The Program was expanded in 2005 with a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation's STEM Talent Expansion Program. Purchase College Foundation trustee Deborah Slaner Larkin was the lead individual to support the program beginning in 2005, initially providing support for female science students but later expanding her support to include all science students.  Other program supporters included Phyllis Hyacinthe, Purchase College Foundation trustee, Richard Laster, former chair of the Purchase College Foundation board of trustees, Morgan Stanley and the SUNY Office of Diversity and Educational Equity. Through support from the PepsiCo Foundation, the program was adapted and expanded to serve humanites and social science students as well.


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Left to Right -- Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama's Science and Technology Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.; Dr. Joseph Skrivanek, Purchase College; Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation.


The Baccalaureate and Beyond program currently works in collaboration with six community Colleges and provides a full range of academic and other support services for students including  peer mentoring, academic advising, tutoring, employment, internships, cultural and leadership development activities, career planning, and assistance with graduate school admissions.  The program is aimed at underrepresented minorities, low-income students, or individuals who have started their college studies but may need encouragement and motivation to continue. Student success is paramount:  the goal is retention and ultimately graduation with either a BA or BS in the one of the sciences or liberal arts. Participating Community Colleges include: Dutchess Community College; Orange County Community College; Nassau Community College; Rockland Community College; Sullivan County Community College; and Westchester Community College.


 "I would like to thank our supporters for their continued interest and ongoing commitment to the program's growth and expansion," said Professor  Joseph Skrivanek, who accepted the award on behalf of Purchase College at the White House ceremony on January 27.


Dr. Joseph Skrivanek, Professor of Chemistry, the founder and Director of this program, has devoted much of his career over the last 10 years to its success and expansion. He has recently begun the replication of the Baccalaureate and Beyond Program within the SUNY System by hosting a conference in Albany attended by representatives from 30 two-year and four-year institutions.


 Students selected for the program work closely with faculty and mentors from Purchase College and their Community College while completing their studies at the Community College. They then enter Purchase College or another four year institution poised with the knowledge and experience necessary to successfully continue their education.


The capstone of the program is an intensive five week, paid, advanced research program held during the summer.  This program is designed not only to give students hands-on experiences in their fields of study, but also, to help them explore their career options.


This program has served over 300 students, of whom 60% are underrepresented minorities and over 70% of whom have graduated with a four year degree.   Of the science and mathematics students served to date, 83% have completed Associate degrees (compared to 30% nationally) and 71% have completed Bachelor's degrees in science fields.  A third of the students are pursuing graduate work in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields.


The program has been highlighted by the SUNY system as a model for replication among its other colleges, universities and community colleges. Chancellor Zimpher stated, "Once again, SUNY has been acknowledged for its excellence, and I want to thank President Obama and the National Science Foundation for recognizing the exceptional work that is being done at SUNY's Purchase College. The Baccalaureate and Beyond program is an excellent example of how SUNY's colleges and universities are nimble, innovative and effective in their goal to educate. As we work to replicate this successful program throughout our 64-campus system, this award is further proof that SUNY is an integral part of re-igniting New York's economic engine."


The mentoring program has been recognized nationally for its success in increasing retention and graduation rates particularly among minority students beyond the current national norm.  President Schwarz stated, "Our program, now in its eleventh year, reaffirms our role as a public college to provide a gateway to a quality education for our citizens. Its importance becomes even more significant during this challenging economic period, offering options and opportunities to our neediest." He added, "its preservation is one of the most compelling reasons why state funding of the public higher education system should not be compromised in our legislators's agendas." 


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January 21, President Obama today named 11 individuals and 4 organizations as recipients of the prestigious Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring.  The mentors will receive their awards at a White House ceremony next week.


The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, awarded by the White House each year to individuals or organizations, recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science or engineering--particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in those fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow's innovators reflect the full diversity of the United States.


Candidates for the Presidential Mentoring Awards are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students in their home institutions.  The mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 to advance their mentoring efforts.


"These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that the United States remains on the cutting edge of science and engineering for years to come," President Obama said. "Their devotion to the educational enrichment and personal growth of their students is remarkable, and these awards represent just a small token of our enormous gratitude."


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The individuals and organizations receiving the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring this year are:

·         Richard L. Cardenas, St. Mary's University, TX

·         Anthony Carpi, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, NY

·         Isaac J. Crumbly, Fort Valley State University, GA

·         Jo Handelsman, Yale University, CT

·         Douglass L. Henderson, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

·         Bruce A. Jackson, Massachusetts Bay Community College, MA

·         Marigold L. Linton, University of Kansas, KS

·         Maja J. Mataric, University of Southern California, CA

·         Gerard F. R. Parkin, Columbia University, NY

·         Julio J. Ramirez, Davidson College, NC

·         Michelle A. Williams, University of Washington, WA

·         Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education, Stevens Institute of Technology, NJ

·         Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program, State University of New York, Purchase College, NY

·         Grinnell Science Project, Grinnell College, IA

·         Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Initiatives, Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois-Chicago, IL