California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Steve Alas, Ph.D., a professor in the Biological Sciences Department and director of
Science Educational Enhancement Services (SEES) at Cal Poly Pomona, is recognized for his efforts on addressing academic barriers and closing the achievement gaps of underrepresented minority (URM) students in STEM.
Through his leadership in the SEES program—which supports the success and retention of more than 600 low-income and URM students each year—Dr. Alas has helped narrow the graduation gap between URM and non-URM students at Cal Poly Pomona from 17.6% to 3.9%. Recognizing the importance of creating meaningful onboarding experiences for first-year students in science and engineering, Alas significantly expanded the university-wide STEM Success Program, which provides incoming STEM freshman with resources and support through their first year.
Additionally, since 2013, Alas has led the
CSU Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (CSU-LSAMP) program at CPP, which has helped more than 55 students get accepted to master's or doctoral programs and funded 122 student research fellowships.
Alas recently acquired a $1 million NSF S-STEM grant for the Scholars Program in Research, Education & Science (SPIRES). The five-year project will fund 125 fellowships to support the attainment of bachelor's degrees in STEM as well as promote the engagement and retention of URM students.
Through a combination of pioneering programs and services, Alas has supported thousands of students over six years, funding his efforts with more than $2.5 million in grants received from state and federal agencies.
“Dr. Alas is the epitome of a teacher-scholar-mentor-leader who is deeply committed to transforming the lives of our students and should be recognized for his tremendous impact on student success at Cal Poly Pomona," says Sylvia A. Alva, Ph.D., provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.