National Science Foundation Awards $600,000 for
Science Scholarships
August 18, 2009


The National Science Foundation has awarded Stonehill a $600,000 grant in support of science scholarships through their Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

For the next two years, the grant will provide four-year scholarships to incoming first-year students who are in financial need and, for the next four years, two-year scholarships to transfer students who are accepted through the Massasoit Transfer Initiative.

The first-year student scholarships particularly target students from Brockton, Randolph, Quincy, and Avon High Schools and students from diverse backgrounds.

This S-STEM grant complements the efforts of Stonehill's current grant from the National Science Foundation's Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP), which seeks to increase the number of students earning associate or bachelor's degrees in established or emerging fields within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

While carrying out the initiatives of the NSF STEP grant, Stonehill and Massasoit faculty members found the major missing component needed for successful enrollment and retention in the sciences is financial aid for economically disadvantaged students.

The awarding of the S-TEM grant is a direct result of a project that Stonehill chemistry professors Louis Liotta, Magdalena James-Pederson, Marilena Hall, and Massasoit biology professor Rachel Hirst proposed to address this need for financial aid, titled "Access to the Science Education of a Four-Year Liberal Arts College for Economically Disadvantaged Students."

"We have found through our efforts on the STEP grant that economically disadvantaged students, whether first-year students or community college transfer students, would benefit more than most students from the type of science education provided by a small liberal arts college like Stonehill," says Liotta.

"Yet these are the students who can least afford a Stonehill education. Since the College does not have the financial resources to offer these students the level of aid they require, they often end up attending large state universities. This scholarship money, combined with aid from the College, will finally make a Stonehill education possible for some of these deserving students," he adds.

The number of students studying science at Stonehill is on the rise with more than 20 percent of the first-year class planning to major in one of the sciences. The opening of the 90,000 square foot Science Center this fall has fueled interest in the sciences as the building will feature innovative laboratory spaces that will allow the integration of lab and lecture in chemistry and biology labs.

The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

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