Middlesex Community College to Offer Scholarships to Students Studying Biotechnology
BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined the college presidents of Northeastern University and Middlesex Community College today to announce a $4.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will provide scholarships to low-income students studying biotechnology.
The scholarships will be awarded to low-income and under-represented minority students who will participate in an associates to masters’ degree accelerated program in biotechnology. Northeastern University and Middlesex Community College are partners in this initiative, known as “A2M.” Over the next five years, more than 500 scholarships will be awarded to academically-talented biotechnology students across three degree levels who are in the A2M pathway. Students will gain research experience, mentoring from industry leaders, specialized academic advising and tailored academic and career support.
“Students who are able to take advantage of this associates to masters’ opportunity will be prepared for success in the region’s biotech industry through paid internships, research experience, and other career opportunities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The partnership between Northeastern University and Middlesex Community College is an exciting and creative way to provide students an affordable path to a degree.”
The announcement was one of hundreds of events taking place across the state as part of the inaugural STEM Week, and exemplifies how public and private partners are working creatively to give students more opportunities to become engaged in STEM fields. Northeastern and Middlesex Community College partner with biotech companies, like Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, Novartis, Shire, the MassBioEd Foundation, and the Mass Life Sciences Center, to provide students with paid internships.
“We are thankful to those companies that support Northeastern and Middlesex Community College in this program, and make it meaningful for students with workplace opportunities, hands-on research, and mentoring by professionals in the industry,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said.
Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were joined by U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III and Vertex CEO Dr. Jeffrey Leiden for the announcement at Northeastern University, as well as Mass Life Sciences Center President and CEO Travis McCready. Both Congressman Kennedy and Dr. Leiden co-chair the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council along with the Lt. Governor.
“This partnership that will give so many young people an opportunity to build successful careers in one of the Commonwealth’s fastest growing industries,” Education Secretary James Peyser said. “The scholarships for the associates to masters’ degree pathway will make degree obtainment so much more affordable for low-income students, helping to diversify the future biotechnology workforce.”
Younger people and minority individuals make up an increasing portion of the overall workforce, but the demographics of STEM fields have remained largely the same.
“I am delighted to see this collaboration between Northeastern and Middlesex, giving students a clear pathway from an associate degree to master’s in a STEM field rich with opportunities,” Higher Education Commissioner Carlos E. Santiago said. “This is exactly the type of initiative that is needed to diversity the talent in the biotech industry.”
“As we continue to support the development of the life sciences ecosystem in Massachusetts, we are committed to investing in the next generation of scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs,” said MLSC President & CEO Travis McCready.“Our ecosystem will only grow through collaborative efforts to create more opportunities for underrepresented student populations to succeed and thrive in the life sciences. Northeastern’s new degree pathway is an innovative approach to making sure this happens.”
“At Northeastern, we are committed to meeting learners wherever they are in their educational journey,” said Joseph E. Aoun, President of Northeastern University.“This includes creating innovative pathways for adult learners of all backgrounds to pursue careers in biotechnology. I want to thank Governor Baker, Dr. Cordova, and President Mabry for their vision and their leadership. By joining forces, we are providing valuable educational opportunities and renewing a fundamental social compact.”
“Middlesex enjoys an excellent relationship with Northeastern and ‘A2M’ strengthens this special partnership,” said Middlesex Community College President James C. Mabry. “Enrollments in our biotechnology programs have increased by 87 percent since 2005, and we offer the enhanced training our Commonwealth industry partners have identified. MCC graduates are well-prepared to continue on to earn bachelors and master’s degrees via this exciting new pathway program.”
Middlesex Community College’s biotechnology program was the first community college biotech program in the state, established in 1990. It is highly respected and holds a Platinum endorsement – the highest rating – from the Massachusetts Life Science Education Consortium.
Northeastern is a global research university built on a tradition of engagement with the world, creating a distinctive experiential approach to learning and discovery. The university offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs leading to degrees through the doctorate in nine colleges and schools, and select advanced degrees at campuses in Charlotte, N.C., Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.
The National Science Foundation Scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics addresses the need for a high-quality STEM workforce and for the increased success of low-income, academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who are pursuing associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.