NSF Grant to Recruit Science and Math Scholars
Virginia Wesleyan College has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Science and Mathematics Scholars Program: Science and Math Students in a Liberal Arts College. The grant, which could total as much as $564,750 over a five-year period, provides funding for 30 need-based scholarships for academically talented undergraduates majoring in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental sciences, or mathematics. The award enables Virginia Wesleyan to aggressively recruit three cohorts of students and is designed to increase the numbers of students majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics) disciplines at VWC. Selection of the applicants will be based on their aptitude for success and interest in STEM. In addition to the scholarship, student participants in the program are provided academic support and networking opportunities such as STEM tutors, lecture presentations by professionals in STEM disciplines, one-on-one advising, and a special STEM FYE section to help them successfully complete their degree in a timely fashion. Students in each cohort will live in the same residence hall, take classes together, and engage in collaborative, multidisciplinary research. Virginia Wesleyan faculty and career services specialists will create workshops and a network of STEM professionals to assist students with career placement. VWC primary investigators for the grant are professors Margaret Reese, Deirdre Gonsalves Jackson, and Gabriela Martorell. "I am most excited about recruiting our STEM cohorts," says Gonsalves-Jackson, "We are planning some exciting opportunities and programs for the participants and I look forward to seeing them develop as scientists and mathematicians. I am also excited about the scholarships that we can provide them. A college education is expensive and to receive an NSF scholarship will serve them well financially and add prestige to their academic dossier."