An aerial view of the UC San Diego campus. Photo courtesy of UCSD.

The San Diego Foundation has announced $1.13 million in grants to increase the number of historically underrepresented students in STEM careers.

The nearly two dozen awards are intended to aid high-potential students in fields focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Programs linked to UC San Diego received $210,000 of the grant funding.

“The future workforce continues to face systemic barriers resulting in lower degree completion rates and unequal access to high-paying jobs in our local innovation economy,” said Mark Stuart, the foundation’s president & CEO. “By focusing on youth and young adults, we have the opportunity to strengthen the workforce of the near future.”

The foundation described a pool of “compelling grant applications” that prompted officials to bolster the $850,000 in funding for the STEM initiative from the organization’s Science & Technology Program. An additional $280,000 was set aside to fund similar workforce programs for high school and college students. 

The largest awards, $70,000, went to:

  • California State University San Marcos Foundation – to engage underrepresented and first-generation college students in hands-on research, and professional and career development.
  • Groundwork San Diego – Chollas Creek – to strengthen career pathways for low-income high school students from Black, Indigenous and People of Color backgrounds.
  • MiraCosta College Foundation – to develop a work-based training program that seeks out and fosters untapped talent among undergraduate biotechnology students.
  • San Diego State University Research Foundation – to engage historically underrepresented, low-income and first-generation students with summer research internships.
  • Scripps Research Institute – to provide high school students with projects and faculty mentorships in genomics, digital health, data science and biomedical research.
  • UC San Diego Center for Research on Educational Equity, Assessment & Teaching Excellence (UCSD CREATE) – to provide summer internships, workshops and training to community college students.
  • UCSD ENLACE – to encourage the participation of high school students in sciences and engineering research conducted in the U.S. and Latin America.
  • UCSD PATHS – to build a diverse cohort of leaders to aid in solving scientific and technological challenges in STEM fields.
  • University of San Diego – to connect high school and college students with hands-on internships.

Other awardees include San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Elementary Institute of Science, Promises 2 Kids, San Diego Futures Foundation, Black Tech Link, Girls Rising and Coastal Defenders. These nonprofits received grants ranging from $10,000 to $60,000.

Since 1999, the San Diego Foundation’s Science & Technology Program has granted more than $10.3 million to support scientists and engineers in San Diego.