Salt Lake Community College was recently awarded a $604,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program.
The Foundation’s program supports scholarships for academically talented students demonstrating a financial need, enabling them to enter the workforce following completion of an associate or bachelor’s degree in a STEM discipline. Institutions throughout the U.S. annually vie for grants from this highly competitive program.
“Our plan is designed to substantially increase the number of graduates in STEM disciplines who come from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Craig Caldwell, SLCC interim dean of the School of Science, Mathematics & Engineering. “Economic growth in Utah has created an immediate need for STEM graduates in the workforce. Both the private sector and state government are strongly articulating the need to rapidly increase graduation rates in STEM areas to fill the needs of local employers.”
Caldwell said the funds will support students, in particular minorities and women, who are committed to completing STEM-related degrees. This will include traditional students as well as a group of near-completers who have "stalled" in their education. The outcome is expected to be a doubling of the number of graduates in SLCC's STEM programs over the course of the five-year project.