News & Stories
January 25, 2022

Faculty team earns NSF grant for STEM scholarships

IMG_9487.JPGThe National Science Foundation has awarded Berry a $750,000 grant for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) scholarships to be used for LEGION, a program designed to aid STEM students with financial need. Between six and eight students will be accepted each fall from 2022-24.

According to Dr. Alice Suroviec, dean of Berry’s School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, the scholarships are designed to fill the gap between the recipients’ financial aid and/or family contribution and the full cost of tuition. The average award will be $6,500 per year, but the amount can vary based on individual need.

Four MNS faculty members began drafting a proposal for the NSF’s S-STEM program in January 2021. They submitted it in April and were notified in August of their success. They include lead investigator Dr. Charles Lane, associate professor of physics; Dr. Christopher Hall, associate professor of biology; Dr. Garner Cochran, assistant professor of mathematics; and Dr. Kenneth Martin, associate professor of physical chemistry.

Lane believes the scholarship program will encourage potential students to choose Berry who might not otherwise find it affordable. In addition, he hopes it will help Berry retain the type of STEM students who in the past have sometimes been forced to leave due to financial pressures – many of whom tended to be first-generation college students.

There will be three LEGION cohorts with each group attending a two-week bridge program prior to the start of their first semester. This program will familiarize them with college-level work in STEM and encourage cohort bonding, as well as introduce the scholars to their faculty and research mentors and an upper-level student-mentor in their field of study.

Hall said that LEGION will give students skills to acclimate to college life and insight into what a career in STEM might look like. In addition, he hopes the program will allow faculty to see what approaches encourage students to stay in STEM disciplines and have a positive impact on the students’ experiences.


Editor’s note: All reporting for this story was done by student Meredith Stafford for an article published in the Campus Carrier newspaper. Photo provided by Campus Carrier.

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