STANDISH---Saint Joseph’s College in Standish has been awarded a five-year, $647,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars Program, designed to encourage students who have demonstrated a need for financial assistance to enter into and succeed in a community of young scientists.
The Saint Joseph’s College grant award (from the S-STEM NSF program) is the only award of this nature to be given in Maine this year. The grant recognizes the college’s innovative science education programming and provides considerable scholarship aid, ranging from $5,000 to $7,200 per year, for each of the recipient’s four years in college.
The first group of Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will be selected from first-year students entering in the fall of 2018 who are committed to studying in a science field, including chemistry, biology, environmental science, biochemistry, and marine science.
“In today’s rapidly changing world, education in science, technology, engineering, and math has never been more important,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “This grant will be instrumental in giving students the opportunity to pursue promising STEM careers and become the next generation of trailblazers in their respective fields. Saint Joseph’s College has been a leader in equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, and we are pleased that these scholarships will provide more motivated young people with access to this quality education.”
In addition to the scholarship aid, Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will also receive one week of field experience prior to starting their freshman years; the use of a laptop for four years; and access to special seminars, conferences, and research experiences.
“This National Science Foundation grant allows us to recruit and graduate some of the best science students from New England and beyond,” said Saint Joseph’s College President James Dlugos, Ph.D. “With these funds, we can offer greater access to higher education in the sciences, offer an innovative approach to science career development, and help meet the growing workforce needs in STEM fields. Since the college has built new science laboratories this past year, it’s an opportune time for students to consider studying science at Saint Joseph’s College.”
“With our access to Sebago Lake, the Gulf of Maine, the White Mountains, and coastal estuaries, Saint Joseph’s College students not only study science, but will work as a community of scientists in the lab and field,” said Dr. Steven Jury, an assistant professor of biology at the college. “We’re confident that our Science Scholars program can serve as a model for other programs across the country.”
“Our students are securing jobs in the science field as soon as they graduate, jobs in water quality science, biomedical chemistry labs, and environmental science fieldwork positions. And yet, we need more students,” said Dr. Johan Erikson, an associate professor of environmental sciences at the college. “We have biomedical corporations approach us and ask, ‘How can we increase the pipeline of science students who are available to recruit? We are having trouble filling available positions.’ Nationally, there is a shortage of critical thinkers and problem solvers in the science fields. We are trying to address this by creating a new model for science education at the college level.”
“The Science Scholars program fosters building a community of scientists, helping science students to become part of a team, part of something even bigger than the college,” said Dr. Marion Young, an assistant professor of psychology who will research the impact of student participation in the program. “This project fits well with both Saint Joseph’s College’s core value of engaging community and the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concern for the environment.”
For more information about the scholarship criteria and application process, visit www.sjcme.edu/science or contact the Saint Joseph’s College Admissions Office at (800) 338-7057 or firstname.lastname@example.org.