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Westminster College Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Support Rural STEM Students

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Posted on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The National Science Foundation has awarded Westminster College a grant of $648,670 for its project “Rural Discovery Scholars: Providing Targeted Services and Role Models to Increase STEM Preparedness in Rural Students.”

The award, which spans Sept. 15, 2016, to Aug. 31, 2021, is under the direction of Westminster faculty Dr. Peter Smith, professor of chemistry and chair of the Division of Biological, Chemical and Environmental Sciences (BCES); Dr. Erin Wilson, associate professor of chemistry; Dr. Kerri Duerr, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of environmental science.

“The proposed project will provide dedicated scholarships to 20 rural, low-income, academically talented and predominantly first-generation college students in the programs housed in BCES,” Smith said. “The goal is to increase the self-efficacy and academic success of these students by providing targeted support services and mentoring programs. Each participant will live on the same floor of one of our residence halls in a living-learning community and will have a peer-tutor/mentor, a faculty mentor and an alumni mentor to serve as a role model for success.”

The first scholarships will be awarded to 10 students for the fall 2017 semester. A second cohort of 10 students will matriculate in fall 2018. The students will receive financial support for all four years as long as they maintain academic standing (3.0 cumulative GPA or higher) and continue as one of the majors in BCES: biochemistry, biology, chemistry, environmental science, materials science or molecular biology.

Contact Smith at 724-946-7299 or email for additional information.