Campus & Community

Stevens ACES Program That Identifies and Nurtures STEM Talent in Underserved Communities Wins Innovation in Education Award

New Jersey Tech Council recognizes Stevens ACES program for its success at the state level and potential for becoming a national model

(Hoboken, N.J. – Nov. 22, 2019) – The New Jersey Tech Council recognized the Stevens ACES (Accessing Careers in Engineering and Science) program, created by Stevens Institute of Technology President Nariman Farvardin, with its 2019 Innovation in Education Award. The award is given to a program that uses innovative technology while encouraging students to pursue higher education in STEM. 

The ACES program, launched two years ago, has demonstrated extraordinary success in increasing the participation and success of underserved and underrepresented minorities in both Stevens’ Pre-College Summer programs and undergraduate STEM degree programs. By producing a more diverse pool of STEM graduates, the ACES program is contributing to Gov. Phil Murphy’s goal to create a “stronger, fairer economy” and addressing the state’s and nation’s critical need for a larger and more diverse STEM talent pool. 

“ACES is not only the right thing to do for society, it is the smart thing to do for the economy,” said President Farvardin, who has made ACES an institutional priority. “As demographic trends continue to diversify the population and the workforce, it is incumbent on leaders in academe, industry, and government to ensure that all sectors of our society—particularly underserved and underrepresented groups—are prepared to contribute to a dynamic and technology-based economy. ACES has the potential to be a national model to achieve this goal.”

Made possible by support from Stevens, a number of New Jersey-based corporations, foundations, as well as Stevens alumni, Stevens ACES partners with 10 high schools in underserved communities and recruits talented students to the Stevens Summer Pre-College program, an intensive, residential summer program that introduces high school students to STEM and technology-infused careers. Students supported through ACES receive full tuition scholarships to participate, as well as mentoring, specialized educational and other support programming, and enhanced opportunities to explore STEM degree programs and college life.

In its first year, the program resulted in a 63 percent increase in the number of underrepresented minorities participating in pre-college summer programs and a 47 percent increase in underrepresented minority students in the freshman cohort at Stevens.   

Students who choose to enroll at Stevens as undergraduates become part of a learning community that benefit from well-established resources that have propelled previous students from disadvantaged and underrepresented groups to exceptional outcomes. A key resource is the Stevens Technical Enrichment Program, established in 1968, which offers services and programs to support the students’ success, and encourages their academic, professional, cultural and personal development. The support begins with the Bridge Summer Program and continues during the academic year.

During his tenure as President, Farvardin has significantly expanded the number of pathways for underrepresented minorities or students from under-resourced communities to receive a first-class education at Stevens, and elsewhere. Farvardin also created the Art Harper Saturday Academy, a multi- year program for high-school students from under-resourced communities, and secured a $15 million gift from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation to advance these efforts. Stevens is one of only 10 engineering schools in the country selected to partner in the prestigious Clark Scholars program.  

Recently, the N.J. Senate unanimously approved a bill that would enable a state-wide implementation of ACES—one that would drive the development of STEM innovators in N.J. as well as the state’s innovation economy. Sen. Paul Sarlo and Sen. Troy Singleton co-sponsored the bill. 

On behalf of the university, Farvardin accepted the award Nov. 21 at the NJTC Awards Celebration at the Bridgewater Marriott in Bridgewater, N.J.

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About Stevens Institute of Technology 

Stevens Institute of Technology is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, New Jersey overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Since our founding in 1870, technological innovation has always been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens education and research. Within the university’s three schools and one college, 6,900 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate closely with faculty in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment. A range of academic and research programming spanning business, computing, engineering, the arts and other fields actively advances the frontiers of science and leverages technology to confront our most pressing global challenges. The university is consistently ranked among the nation’s elite for return on tuition investment, career services and the mid-career salaries of alumni.

Media contacts: Katie Koch, 201-216-5139, [email protected]