U.S. Representative Charlie Crist, SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams, and SPC Provost Dr. Tashika Griffith
ST. PETERSBURG — U.S. Representative Charlie Crist presented St. Petersburg College (SPC) $1 million grant at the SPC Midtown Center for the Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate Alliance (TB-B2B) program. The program will help increase diversity and support the advancement of Black, Hispanic, and underrepresented communities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees.
“This grant will increase Black and Hispanic students in Pinellas County’s access to a STEM education, opening the door to better-paying jobs and strengthening the workforce in our area,” said Crist. “I’m proud of the work being done by SPC and their regional partners, leading the charge to create greater opportunities for minority students in cutting edge fields where we need more skilled workers.”
“It takes a village to meet the needs of our minority students,” SPC President Tonjua Williams said. “We are proud to collaborate with our regional institutions to continue the great work of increasing access to STEM programs and to meet the needs of the Tampa Bay workforce. Thank you, Representative Crist, for your continued support of the Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate Alliance.”
The grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), will allow SPC to fund activities focused on student recruitment and retention through advising, mentorship, and peer connections. The funding will also be used for undergraduate research experiences, career exploration, and professional development, activities which will be supported by a network of regional partners, including four-year institutions, research centers, and STEM enterprises to help minority students graduate with STEM degrees and successfully step into the workforce.
“The TB-B2B Alliance has accomplished so much in its first grant cycle,” said SPC B2B Project Alliance Manager Kelliann Ganoo. “The Alliance has provided many opportunities for underrepresented minority students majoring in STEM to enhance their resumes and prepare them for transfer into a baccalaureate degree.”
A member of the Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science, with jurisdiction over NSF funding, Congressman Crist successfully fought for increased NSF funding. He worked alongside his colleagues to pass legislation funding the NSF at $8.55 billion in FY’21, an increase of $270 million from last year, to support and foster innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness.
TB-B2B is led by St. Petersburg College in partnership with Hillsborough Community College and State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, with the University of South Florida as an informal partner.