Otterbein University Awarded National Science Foundation Grant for STEM Education

Posted Sep 24, 2020

STEM faculty at Otterbein University were recently awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM grant of $999,348 to support recruitment and retention of students from under-represented populations in STEM fields through Otterbein’s Cardinal Science Scholars (CSS) program. 

This five-year program will support two cohorts of 11 students each for four years of undergraduate education in STEM subjects — a total of 22 four-year scholarships for students majoring in biology, environmental science, zoo and conservation science, biochemistry and molecular biology, chemistry, engineering or physics. Associate Professor of Chemistry Brigitte Ramos leads the project team of professors including Joan Esson, professor of chemistry; David Sheridan, associate professor of biology and earth science; Meredith Meyer, associate professor of psychology; Elena Caruthers, assistant professor of engineering; and Uwe Trittmann, professor of physics.    

“This generous grant will make a quality education more attainable for low-income students, including first-generation students, who are traditionally under-represented in STEM programs,” said Ramos. “We believe that adding diversity to our programs will enhance the overall learning experience for all of our students.” 

In addition to scholarship support, the Cardinal Science Scholars program provides curricular and co-curricular activities that support student success, professional preparedness, and graduation in STEM fields. Some of the planned activities include a summer immersion experience, a recurring CSS seminar course, peer and professional mentoring, internships and research experiences. Scholarships vary in amount and will be awarded all four years as long as students continue in one of the sponsored STEM programs, participate in planned program activities, and maintain an overall G.P.A. of 3.0.   

The overarching goal of the Cardinal Science Scholar Program is to increase the number of low-income students, including first-generation students, who succeed in STEM disciplines and acquire the skills needed to meet local and regional workforce demand. The CSS program also will help build targeted academic-industry partnerships that are the focus of Otterbein initiatives and enhance interdisciplinary collaborations among the university’s STEM departments.