On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., announced the National Science Foundation (NSF) is sending $1 million to St. Petersburg College (SPC) for the Tampa Bay Bridge to the Baccalaureate Alliance (TB-B2B) program “to help increase diversity and support the advancement of Black, Hispanic, and underrepresented communities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees.”

Crist, who sits on the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, said the funds will help boost the community.

“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.”

“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 congressman’s office noted.

St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Community College, the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota and the University of South Florida (USF) are working together on the TB-B2B program.

Crist was first elected to Congress in 2016 after winning three statewide offices as a Republican including winning the 2006 gubernatorial election. After running for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation in 2010, Crist joined the Democrats in 2012 and was his new party’s gubernatorial candidate back in 2014. Crist faces conservative activist and Air Force veteran Anna Paulina Luna, who won the Republican primary earlier this month, in November. Jacob Curnow is also running in this Pinellas County district as a write-in candidate.


Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

Kevin Derby
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