MCLA Receives National Science Foundation Grant to Fund Scholarships for STEM Majors


NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant for $639,826 to fund annual scholarships in the amount of $5,000 for 32 students who major in biology, physics, chemistry, environmental studies, computer science or mathematics.


NSF S-STEM funding will begin on Aug. 1 and continue through July 31, 2019.


In addition, through the "STEM Pathways Program," MCLA will provide scholarship recipients with academic support, enrichment activities, as well as career development and research opportunities, to ensure that they complete their degrees and are prepared to enter the STEM workforce or a STEM-related graduate program.

According to Dr. Monica Joslin, dean of academic affairs, MCLA's STEM programs are thriving.

"Thanks to the efforts of faculty, administrators, and the academic and career development support services offered through MCLA's Center for Student Success and Engagement (CSSE) over the past five years, an increasing number of the College's students are graduating with STEM degrees," Joslin said. "Extending access to our STEM programs to talented students with financial need is an important part of MCLA's mission as the Commonwealth's Public Liberal Arts College.

This funding to the STEM Pathways Program allows MCLA to offer scholarships that directly address an area of national concern: the shortage of United States graduates trained in STEM-related fields.

Scholarships for academically strong STEM students, who may not otherwise be able to afford college, will impact the number of STEM graduates prepared to help Massachusetts companies continue to advance the knowledge that is producing life-changing innovations, Joslin said.  

MCLA's "STEM Pathways Program" is under the direction of biology professor and department chair Dr. Ann Billetz, principal investigator; computer science professor Dr. Mark Cohen; physics professor Emily Maher; math professor Dr. Elizabeth Hartung;, and Christopher Himes, STEM program manager and the Evelyn H. and Arlindo Jorge Endowed Chair in the Education Department.

"Talented STEM graduates help U.S. industries compete and innovate in a global economy," said NSF Program Director John Krupczak. "This project provides resources to undergraduates in STEM to help them be successful."

 In addition to this recent funding, MCLA is benefiting from a $54 million dollar upgrade to its STEM infrastructure, the centerpiece of which is the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation.

This LEED-certified Center offers more than 65,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory, teaching, office and meeting space, and is home to MCLA's biology, chemistry, physics, environmental studies and psychology departments.

In addition, next summer MCLA's math and computer science departments will move into space in a newly renovated Bowman Hall. Once construction work is completed, the facility will include a state-of-the-art networking and robotics lab, as well as new offices, classrooms, and plentiful collaborative workspaces.

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