CSM Awarded $586,000 National Science Foundation Grant

CSM Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Melanie Osterhouse, right, discusses careers that rely heavily on math at the 2010 Women + Math Conference at CSM’s La Plata Campus. “Today's jobs are in STEM fields and yet, there aren't enough graduates to meet the market's demand,” she said of why efforts to draw students into STEM careers are important.

Funds will go Toward Recruiting, Retaining 102 Students in STEM Programs

            The College of Southern Maryland has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant for a program to recruit 102 academically talented, financially needy students to enter science, technology, engineering and math programs at the college. The CSM STEM Scholars Program will use NSF funds to provide scholarships, support services to increase retention and assistance to graduates in transitioning to further education or employment. Electronics technology, environmental technology, information services technology, biotechnology, mathematics/physical sciences, computer science and engineering are among the programs targeted by this grant.

            “Today’s jobs are in STEM fields and yet, there aren’t enough graduates to meet the market’s demand,” said CSM Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Melanie Osterhouse, who, along with CSM Mathematics Professor Sandy Poinsett, Engineering Professor Dr. Neal D. Wilsey and Biology and Physical Sciences Professor Turner Coggins, is a program administrator. “With this grant, I hope that we will be able to put a dent in closing the gap between supply and demand,” Osterhouse added.

            Scholarship recipients will receive awards of up to $5,000 per academic year over two academic years for tuition, fees and books. In addition, students in the program will receive mentorship by field-related specialists and potential summer employment opportunities in their field of study. Students will receive individual advising, tutorial support and other academic resources.

            “Built into the program, students will be required to participate in a learning community each semester that will provide an opportunity for exchanging ideas and discussing issues pertaining to their current studies along with planning for the future, whether it be finding a job, an internship, or transferring to a four-year school,” said Poinsett. “The scholarship program will provide talented, financially needy students who have been juggling work and school an opportunity to focus on their courses and increase their likelihood of success. It will also give students an opportunity to network with each other and representatives in the professional community.”    

            The program is funded through 2015.

            Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled, with priority given to those received by May 15.

            For information or to apply to the CSM STEM Scholars Program, visit www.csmd.edu/ISTEM/ and follow the Scholarships link.