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In January 2023, Arrupe opened the doors to the 1,364 square-foot multidisciplinary, state-of-the-art science lab facility, located on the third floor of Maguire Hall. In the year since then, students have benefited from enhanced science courses, increased opportunities for active learning, and further development of laboratory skills.

“Incoming students have expressed a significant interest in pursuing a variety of STEM and STEM-related majors,” said Tom Neitzke, S.J., EdD, dean of Arrupe College. “Nearly all of these degrees require students to have an understanding of scientific theory and practices to be successful.”

Arrupe serves students who typically do not have adequate or extensive preparation in foundational science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) coursework in secondary school. Creating this new laboratory facility has addressed this disadvantage and serves the mission for which Arrupe was founded: to increase access to higher education, not only by granting associate’s degrees, but also by facilitating the pathway from earning a high school diploma to earning bachelor’s degrees and careers in STEM and STEM fields.

This lab facility serves Arrupe’s access-based mission by expanding our laboratory curriculum, facilitating transfer and pathways to STEM and STEM-related fields, and allowing Arrupe graduates to pursue bachelor’s degrees and careers in STEM fields.

“Having access to modern science laboratories, and the equipment they contain, is essential to a successful education,” said Neitzke. “This knowledge helps ensure students pursuing STEM-related disciplines are work-ready on day one.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM jobs are projected to increase 10.5% from 2020 to 2030, while non-STEM occupations should see a gain of only 7.5%. Median annual wages for STEM jobs were nearly $50,000 above non-STEM wages in 2020, and healthcare careers, which typically require STEM training, are expected to see even more growth than typical STEM jobs.

Almost all STEM fields lack diversity and equity, with Black and Hispanic/LatinX workers in particular being underrepresented. At Arrupe, 99% of students identify as persons of color, so not only do they need STEM fields, but STEM fields need Arrupe students.