Miami Dade College’s School of Science Named a National Finalist for 2021 Examples of Excelencia Award

The College is being recognized for its STEM Research Institute and efforts in advancing equity for minority students 

Miami, Sept. 9, 2021 – Miami Dade College (MDC) has been named a finalist for the 2021 Examples of Excelencia for its STEM Research Institute (SRI), which assists minority students in obtaining the skills needed to gain jobs in STEM careers. The program is a component of MDC’s School of Science’s Center for Research Experiences in Science and Technology. Winners will be announced on Oct. 28 at the virtual Celebración de Excelencia.

“The STEM Research Institute has proved an attractive hands-on program for many STEM-focused students,” said Dr. Victor Okafor, Dean of the School of Sciences. “It stems from faculty having made undergraduate research at Miami Dade College an experiential as well as a high-impact pedagogical handle for aiding these well-motivated students to engage and complete degrees in STEM fields. SRI is one implement in the institution’s focus on narrowing the STEM equity gap for Hispanics and other minorities.”

Established in 2012 and funded by multiple U.S. Department of Education and National Science Foundation grants, MDC’s STEM Research Institute aims to provide Hispanic and other underrepresented minority students with high-quality, early research experiences to help them acquire knowledge and skills important to their academic success and critical to be competitive in the STEM workforce of the 21st century. Students complete 10-12 weeks of high-level research mentored by faculty at MDC labs or they may choose to work with faculty at one of the partner research universities to carry out individual research projects.  The program is comprised of 240 hours of research, professional skills workshops, and various deliverables. All summer interns must present their independent research projects at the annual STEM Research Symposium at the end of the program.

Excelencia in Education is the nation’s premier authority on efforts accelerating Latino student success in higher education. Amid a global pandemic and national racial reckoning that has fostered conversations around sustainable equity in higher education, Examples of Excelencia identifies evidence-based programs at the forefront of implementing strategies advancing equity for Latino students.

“Identifying and advancing what works is central to Excelencia’s tactical plan to accelerate Latino student success,” said Deborah Santiago, CEO of Excelencia in Education. “We look to these evidence-based practices, and the leaders working directly with students and community, as exemplars of what others can do to ensure our students are served well.”

About Excelencia in Education

Excelencia in Education accelerates Latino student success in higher education by promoting Latino student achievement, conducting analysis to inform educational policies, and advancing institutional practices while collaborating with those committed and ready to meet the mission. Launched in 2004 in the nation’s capital, Excelencia has established a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address the U.S. economy’s needs for a highly educated workforce and engaged civic leaders. Examples of Excelencia expands on the legacy of work first began in 1999 by its two visionary leaders, Deborah Santiago and Sarita Brown. Since 2005, Excelencia in Education has received more than 1,000 program submissions; recognized more than 300 programs for their impact in accelerating Latino student success; and raised and awarded $2 million to the programs making a difference for Latino students to support their sustainability and expansion. For more information, visit www.edexcelencia.og.