Search South Mountain Community College Website
SMCC Cougar facebook South Mountain Community College twitter SMCC youtube Videos

South Mountain Community College “Excelling” in Serving Hispanic STEM Students


Demand for student success in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields has never been higher, and South Mountain Community College has made serving students pursuing careers in STEM fields a top priority.

Those efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Dr. Eboni Zamani-Gallaher, Director of the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL), has identified SMCC as “excelling” in its support for Hispanic STEM students, and to learn more about the college’s programs, OCCRL will be making a site visit to SMCC on October 23-24.

Formed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989, OCCRL’s mission is to use research and evaluation methods to improve policies, programs and practices to enhance community college education, and support the transition to college for diverse learners at the state, national and international level.

As part of its visit, OCCRL will examine the college as part of a case study for a National Science Foundation grant: Hispanic-Serving Community College STEM Pipelines. OCCCRL looks for success in specific criteria such as enrollment and completion numbers, and degrees and certificates awarded, and the college must meet specific minimums as indicated by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), including:

  • Overall institutional minimum enrollment of 5000
  • Minimum 30% Hispanic enrollment
  • Number of Hispanic awards/degrees conferred of at least 50
  • Ratio of Hispanic STEM completion to enrollment of at least .90
  • Ratio of Hispanic completion to enrollment of at least .90

During the visit, OCCRL will interview STEM faculty, student services staff, and academic officers, as well as students themselves.

“I am thrilled that the office has recognized South Mountain Community College for its work,” said SMCC President Dr. Shari Olson. “This is such an important focus for local students who want to compete in the global marketplace.”

SMCC is federally recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. More than half of SMCC’s student body is Hispanic, and 52 percent of the certificates and degrees awarded last year at SMCC were earned by Hispanic students. Approximately 30 percent of students attending the college are enrolled in STEM programs, with completion rates of nearly 90 percent.