NVCC CEO Lisa Dresdner, Ph.D., college administration, faculty and staff welcomed 23 students to the start of the spring semester NViSION program in a campus and virtual event.
Five new students joined the program this spring, Jonathan Escobar, Andrew Bonicki, Anthony Lane, Meredith Hernandez, and Christopher Murphy. The new students are from Sacred Heart, Terryville, Franklin (Maryland) High Schools and Western Connecticut Regional Adult and Continuing Education, Danbury, and GED programs. They join eighteen returning students, Jeffrey Bernabe, Christean Crespo, Jesus M. Bernal, Denis Patino, Devin Dubois, Steison Ruiz, Gabriel DeMelo, Omkar Newland, Joenlis Vale-Moran, Aryanna Smith, Brian Fredericksen, Mileena Alvarez, Willy Andrade, Jhennifer Curipoma, Samantha Gaughan, Samantha Reichardt, Jessica Perez, and Katherine A Miller. The continuing students are from area high schools including Bethel, Crosby, Danbury, Kaynor Tech, Naugatuck, Nonnewaug, Pomperaug Regional, Seymour and Wolcott High Schools, Waterbury Career Academy and GED programs.
Led by three NVCC faculty who direct the program, the orientation familiarized students with the administration, faculty, and resources of the college, while building skills in planning and communication through games and activities.
Mariangeli Zerbi, Professor of Mathematics and Co-Director and Principal Investigator highlighted the difference NViSION has made for both faculty and students. “It has been a lot of work navigating all these students through their challenges and successes, but it has been satisfying and exciting to see them prevail and learn. Running this program during the pandemic where we are so isolated has been a challenge, and the NViSION program offers students ways to connect with each other and us. They are a resilient group of students; I am proud of them.”
Commenting on the growth of the program, Rebecca Binney, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Science Department Chair, Director and Principal investigator of the NViSION program noted how “wonderful it has been to watch the program exponentially grow this last year and a half. We are honored to be able to support students while they work towards achieving their professional dreams. Today we celebrated all of their significant achievements and added more support to help them continue on this path. “
Most of the NViSION students are first-generation, and Peter Angelastro, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, Co-Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the NViSION program noted what he has learned about effective ways to help:
“I have learned that one of the key issues in which students need assistance is navigating the college system. For example, ‘what is a bursar?’ This is a word many people have not heard before entering college and is especially the case for first-generation students. As NViSION advisors, we make sure the scholars can navigate the system. I have helped students to complete scholarship applications, university applications, and determine the best course sequence for their intended career and based on the student’s skills.”
The NViSION program at Naugatuck Valley Community College is a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scholarship program to support promising Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) students who graduate from NVCC and either transfer to a 4-year college in a STEM program or directly enter the STEM workforce. The purpose of the program is to provide programming, academic and social supports, and professional experiences to help students build increased motivation towards a STEM career, empower students to self-identify as a STEM professional, and to ensure STEM student self-efficacy, all while providing significant financial support in terms of scholarships to increase their likelihood of success.
Students accepted into the NViSION program are eligible for multiple supports, including scholarships in the amount of $1000-$5000 per year for the first two years of study, free tutoring, all-expense paid university tours and STEM field trips, and STEM workshops, advising, and counseling. In addition, students have the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research and participate in internships and job shadowing.
For students interested in this program, NVCC is now recruiting for the 2021-2022 academic year. Requirements for the program include a GPA of 2.5 with noted accomplishments in STEM courses; status as a US citizen, permanent resident, national, or refugee; demonstrated financial need as determined per FAFSA; and a commitment to full-time enrollment at NVCC in a STEM degree program until completion of the degree and/or transfer to a 4-year college or university. Applications are available on the College website nv.edu/nvision or by email email@example.com.