Upper Iowa University has been awarded a $650,000 S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to funding seven scholarships to be awarded each year to UIU freshman in 2017 and 2018, grant funds will be used by the University to research and strengthen STEM-related educational and programming opportunities — not only for UIU but all educational institutions.
The recent grant award is the culmination of three submissions over a four-year period by UIU STEM department team members, Nigel George, UIU professor of mathematics and physics, and Kata McCarville, UIU associate professor of geosciences. The approved UIU grant application is titled, “STEM Pros: Impacts of Family-Oriented Programming on Retention, Academic Success, and Career Trajectories of Undergraduate Students in STEM Disciplines.”
George explained that the ultimate goal of the program is for STEM-Pros scholars to develop their full potential as STEM professionals by establishing self-identity and acquiring the skills to define and solve complex problems. With faculty guidance, academic supports, co-curricular experiences, and innovative family programming, participating students will be more fully engaged in their chosen fields and thus, persist in overcoming challenges.
“This will involve far more than just improved educational programming,” said McCarville. “It is about developing new and innovative ways for all colleges and universities to increase recruitment, retention, and degree completion while preparing STEM professionals for the 21st century workplace.”
“The impacts of family-oriented programming on retention, academic achievement, and STEM career trajectories of our 14 future STEM-Pros scholars will also be studied and assessed,” said George. “STEM-Pros is another example of our STEM department’s relentless focus on the current and future success of Upper Iowa students. While providing higher education in a supportive environment to our students, we help them apply their skills to developing a rich and rewarding career.”
The National Science Foundation S-STEM program addresses the need for a high-quality STEM workforce in prioritized areas across the nation. The program seeks to increase and understand the success of low-income, academically talented students who demonstrate financial need and have degrees in STEM-related fields. Recognizing that scholarships alone cannot address low retention and graduation rates in STEM, the Foundation’s program provides funds to institutions of higher education for scholarships and establishing systems of high-quality evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities that support STEM student success, retention, transfer, and graduation.
The amount of each STEM-Pros scholarship will be based on the student’s demonstrated financial need. The annual cap is $10,000 per student. The scholarship is renewable for up to three additional years, if the student continues to meet the eligibility and participation requirements.
Additional information on Upper Iowa University’s STEM Pros program will be released at a later date. Future UIU students may complete the STEM PROS scholarship form here.