Fairmont State University receives NSF grant of $ 749,693 to support low-income STEM majors
FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont State University has received a six-year grant totaling $ 749,693 under the National Science Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) Scholarship Program.
Fairmont State’s project, Bridging the STEM Gap in Appalachia: Engaging with Students to Iteratively Improve Faculty Practices in Support of Student Success, aims to increase enrollment, retention, and low-income and talented students graduating in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
The degree programs affected by this grant include bachelor’s degrees in computer science (also a concentration in cybersecurity), mathematics, biology, chemistry, forensics, civil engineering technology, mechanical and electrical, security at work and in surveying and geomatics engineering technology.
Over a six-year period, Fairmont State’s S-STEM program will recruit and directly support 18 low-income undergraduates in grades one to four in college, and facilitate opportunities for gainful employment afterwards. graduation.
In addition to receiving a scholarship, these students will also participate in special programs both in and out of the classroom to help ensure their success. S-STEM students will be invited to be part of a STEM living and learning community, and they will interact regularly with their teachers and peer mentors, especially during their first year. Partnerships with local and regional industries will also provide unique opportunities for students.
“There is a vast STEM divide in the Appalachians, and nowhere is this abyss more deeply felt than in West Virginia,” said Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University. “While our state is teeming with academic talent, many of these young students simply don’t have access to the types of opportunities that will allow them to grow as STEM academics and pursue STEM careers. The S-STEM program – a program that goes beyond scholarships and includes mentoring, student success initiatives, unique learning experiences, and career guidance – will go a long way in bridging the gap in opportunities for students. from West Virginia interested in STEM fields. I, along with our expert teacher-mentors who teach STEM fields here at Fairmont State, are thrilled to be a part of this vital and groundbreaking project.
As part of this program, faculty and peer mentors will benefit from active and ongoing professional development on topics related to mentoring, counseling, and student engagement techniques. S-STEM students will be involved in providing feedback to help keep the program student-centered.
The six-year project will be led by Dr Robert Niichel, Associate Professor of Mathematics, who will be assisted by Dr Jojo Joseph, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Ms Abby Chapman, Assistant Professor of Occupational Safety. The project will also be supported by a team of faculty from the College of Science and Technology and staff from across campus.
“We hope that our program will change the course of the lives of our students and help us improve our STEM teaching and guidance,” said Niichel. “And, I think we’ve developed a program that can do that.”