TRIO Scholars Program at NYU Tandon drives diversity and opportunity in STEM

group of diverse students holding signs saying "I am TRIO"

BROOKLYN, New York, Tuesday, January 5, 2021 – The NYU Tandon School of Engineering has received a Student Support Services TRIO grant for more than $2.0 million over five years (~$430,000 per year beginning in 2021) to fund the TRIO Scholars Program, designed to identify, prepare, support, and motivate college students from less financially advantaged and underrepresented in STEM backgrounds. 

The TRIO programs, administered, funded, and implemented by the U.S. Department of Education, are focused on low-income, first-generation college students — or students who have a documented disability — to ensure their success in the completion of their post-secondary education. A comprehensive lineup of services and activities available to TRIO Scholars includes academic tutoring, financial aid counseling, career and college mentoring, workshops, cultural and social opportunities, guidance in course selection, grants and scholarships, peer instruction, tutoring, and exam prep. 

NYU Tandon has participated in the TRIO Program, awarded every five years, since 1978. Authorized by the Higher Education Act, TRIO recognizes that students whose parents do not have higher degrees experience more challenges at college than others. The approximately 10,000 TRIO Scholars who have graduated since the program’s inception at NYU Tandon have gone on to careers in chemical, electrical, software, network, and other engineering fields, as well as in animation, game and software development, consulting, and much more. 

Currently, 250 Tandon undergraduate students are participating in the TRIO Program, with a projected 1,000 to participate during the period of the grant.  This support is even more essential at a time of a global pandemic.  We need to encourage, support and do everything in our power to grow diversity in STEM and increase the pipeline to STEM jobs that are increasing every day.

“I want to extend my congratulations to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering on receiving vital funding for its TRIO program,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) New York. “For decades, this program has served as a launchpad for America’s low-income and first-generation students to access quality higher education, while helping to diversify our STEM workforce. These scholars help drive innovation and foster vigorous economic growth, which we need more than ever to help rebuild New York after this devastating pandemic.”

“It is our top priority — and an essential part of our history and our identity — to make engineering diverse by creating opportunities for students from communities underrepresented in STEM,” said Jelena Kovačević, Dean of NYU Tandon. “By providing a broad range of services to help students succeed, Student Support Services has made a vital difference in our efforts to cultivate a diverse student body through outreach, engagement and support of those who may very well be the first in their family to go to college.”

“For over 40 years, the TRIO Scholars Program has played an invaluable role in our efforts to provide a rich secondary education experience in STEM for those who otherwise may have never had this opportunity,” said Nicole Johnson, Assistant Dean for Opportunity Programs and Director of the TRIO Scholars Program. “We are especially gratified to have the program's support  at a time when a global pandemic is creating even more hurdles for students without the kinds of support that many of us take for granted.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the systemic inequality and financial hardship which keep promising students from succeeding in college,” said Maureen Hoyler, the president of the nonprofit Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C., which is dedicated to furthering the expansion of college opportunities for low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities. “Student Support Services is needed now more than ever.”


About the New York University Tandon School of Engineering

The NYU Tandon School of Engineering dates to 1854, the founding date for both the New York University School of Civil Engineering and Architecture and the Brooklyn Collegiate and Polytechnic Institute. A January 2014 merger created a comprehensive school of education and research in engineering and applied sciences as part of a global university, with close connections to engineering programs at NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU Shanghai. NYU Tandon is rooted in a vibrant tradition of entrepreneurship, intellectual curiosity, and innovative solutions to humanity’s most pressing global challenges. Research at Tandon focuses on vital intersections between communications/IT, cybersecurity, and data science/AI/robotics systems and tools and critical areas of society that they influence, including emerging media, health, sustainability, and urban living. We believe diversity is integral to excellence, and are creating a vibrant, inclusive, and equitable environment for all of our students, faculty and staff. For more information, visit