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Juniata Receives NSF Grant Aimed at Helping Junior College Students

(Posted October 10, 2011)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College received a $552,200 grant from the National Science Foundation's Scholars in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) funding initiative to give students at junior colleges financial aid toward the completion of a bachelor's degree at Juniata, with the ultimate aim of attaining a graduate degree.

The five-year grant will provide $10,000 scholarships, renewable for a second year at Juniata, for students who have earned associate's degrees to pursue two additional years of undergraduate education, something they would not be able to do without aid because of financial need.

Juniata is one of 26 Pennsylvania institutions to receive an S-STEM award throughout the program's lifetime and one of 559 institutions nationally that have received $296 million in S-STEM funding since the program's inception in 2003.

Few students entering a two-year associate degree program are likely to have considered the opportunity of attaining a doctorate in the fields of science, technology, engineering or math. Each year, six scholarship recipients will transfer to Juniata and enter as juniors.

While attending, students can pursue an academic program in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, geology, molecular biology or physics. In addition to the scholarship, each will have the opportunity to pursue a 10-week summer student-faculty research experience between their junior and senior years.

Like any summer research student at Juniata, scholarship recipients will also receive summer stipends and support for supplies and travel.
Students will also be able to take advantage of the summer seminar series, student-faculty lunches, recreational outings and more, events that have been central to the success of Juniata's Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which has trained around 35 students per year for the last 10 years.

Special student support services for the S-STEM Scholarship Program, including seminars, social hours and field trips, will also be available during the semester to help integrate students into the Juniata during their first year.

Second-year students, who have reached senior status, will participate as peer mentors, guiding new students based on their own experiences.

"It's a very appealing program for a student who has gone to a junior college, gained a two-year degree and discovered their interest in pursuing a graduate degree," says Jeffery Demarest, professor of biology at Juniata and author of Juniata's S-STEM proposal. "The grant opens Juniata up to a source of students who've been relatively untapped."

Juniata's Career Services Office and the academic departments will track postgraduate outcomes for these Juniata students for a minimum of six years after graduation.

Written by Genna Welsh Kasun

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.