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Award Abstract #1057574

Addressing Workforce Needs Through the Creation of a STEM Scholars Program

NSF Org: DUE
Division Of Undergraduate Education
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Initial Amendment Date: January 31, 2011
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Latest Amendment Date: December 30, 2014
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Award Number: 1057574
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Elizabeth Teles
DUE Division Of Undergraduate Education
EHR Direct For Education and Human Resources
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Start Date: February 1, 2011
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End Date: January 31, 2016 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $600,000.00
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Investigator(s): Kevin Gyolai (Former Principal Investigator)
Jeffory Watne (Former Principal Investigator)
Steve Johnson (Co-Principal Investigator)
Jeff Jelinek (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: North Dakota State College of Science
800 North 6th Street
Wahpeton, ND 58076-0002 (800)342-4325
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NSF Program(s): S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH
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Program Reference Code(s): 9150, 9178, SMET
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Program Element Code(s): 1536

ABSTRACT

This project is designed to forge a unique partnership between a comprehensive two-year technical college, four regional universities, and industry partners to address significant science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce needs in North Dakota. Upon completion of the STEM Scholars program, academically talented, but financially needy students, earn either an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree in a STEM field and are prepared to either enter the STEM workforce directly or transfer to university to pursue a baccalaureate degree. Including both pre-professional and career and technical programs (liberal arts programs with a focus in mathematics; chemistry, or engineering; Computer Information Systems programs; Machinist and Toolmaker Technology; and Civil Engineering and Surveying Technology) allow for a comprehensive approach to addressing these needs.

This project provides financial assistance to students through a scholarship program that includes three scholarship types. The standard scholarship provides financial assistance of up to $10,000 per year to students that have been fully accepted into the STEM Scholars program. Opportunity and Incentive scholarships, in the amount of $500, are designed to provide encouragement to students considering careers in a STEM field, but who do not meet all of the program entry requirements. These scholarships will be awarded for a single semester. If the student demonstrates that they can maintain at least a 3.0 GPA while in a participating STEM program, and while receiving the Opportunity and Incentive scholarships, they become standard scholarship recipients. Lastly, students compete for transfer scholarships upon completion of the STEM Scholars program. A transfer scholarship pool is being established with the intention of providing scholarships of $1,000 - $5,000 each to graduating students upon acceptance and entry into a STEM-related field at a university.

Intellectual Merit: This project is increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation rates in STEM programs that directly address regional workforce needs. It is attracting more students, enabling them to study full-time, relieving financial concerns through significant financial assistance, forming an active learning community, supporting students with robust student services, offering new opportunities for industry and other professional interactions, encouraging and streamlining the transfer to university, and providing career counseling and job placement assistance.

Broader Impact: This project builds on efforts within North Dakota to encourage students to pursue and complete STEM degrees, and is designed to support them through to graduation and job placement. Special emphasis is being placed on recruiting students from underrepresented groups. The project benefits society by placing students into STEM careers; which are in demand and offer competitive wages and excellent opportunities for advancement.

 

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