Lehman rakes in millions for STEM


It’s an important institution in the CUNY system, and Lehman College might become a hotspot for science, technology, math and engineering.

The National Institutes of General Medical Sciences has awarded one of Lehman’s research labs a $1.76 million grant. A team led by associate chemistry professor Prabodhika Mallikaratchy applied for the institutes’ outstanding investigator award, with plans to use the money to further research on DNA nanotechnology.

Mallikaratchy has studied the science of creating artificial nucleic acid structures and adapting it to technology since opening her lab at Lehman in 2012. Such awards are generally given to major research universities, she said, which made Lehman receiving one all the more rewarding.

It “felt like a pat on the back,” Mallikaratchy said, in a release. “I want to show my students that if you work hard, the sky’s the limit for you.”

But Mallikaratchy’s lab wasn’t the only Lehman institution on the receiving end of a monetary award. 

The college’s education school picked up $1.2 million from the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program.

The goal of the program is to recruit and train school teachers with STEM backgrounds, dispatch them to high-need institutions, and support them as they teach the next generation of potential STEM professionals.

With the money, the college plans to launch a three-year program designed to prepare STEM teachers for the “urban classroom,” partnering with New World High School in Williamsbridge and the Mount Vernon City School District.

Lehman plans to recruit 27 STEM majors and professionals who might not have considered education as a career path. They’ll ultimately earn master’s degrees in math and science education, with the goal to teach those subjects to schools in marginalized communities.

“This is about access and equity in the technology field at a time when U.S. competitiveness depends on how well we prepare all of our students — especially those in underserved communities,” said Serigne Gningue, interim associate dean of Lehman’s education school, in a release. “Lehman has a proven track record of addressing the needs of marginalized communities, and we’ve had many successes working with the (National Science Foundation) in the past to impact the education of Bronx children.”