News

NSF Grant to Fund Liberal Arts Science Scholars Program

St. Lawrence University has been awarded a five-year National Science Foundation grant worth $618,524 for the creation of a new liberal arts science scholars program that will assist underrepresented groups pursue STEM-related majors and careers.

The Liberal Arts Science (LAS) Scholars Program at St. Lawrence will offer scholarships to 20 underrepresented students in STEM fields who will major in mathematics, geology, chemistry, computer science, physics or a non-clinical track of biology. The program will award 10 scholarships to first-year students in the fall, and another 10 scholarships to incoming students the following year.

“The project team is extremely proud of and excited about the LAS scholarship program we have developed,” said Jessica L. Chapman, associate professor of statistics. “Our program is unique compared to many NSF-funded STEM scholarship programs at other institutions because of our emphasis on interdisciplinary science in a liberal arts setting. Students selected for the program will have access to new and exciting activities and courses, such as an orientation retreat in the Adirondacks, a faculty and peer mentoring network, a course on scientific discovery, and a statistics-based FYS course.”

The project team included Chapman, Jeffrey R. Chiarenzelli, James Henry Chapin professor of geology and mineralogy, Adam D. Hill, assistant professor of chemistry, Judith Nagel-Myers, assistant professor of geology, and Ivan P. Ramler, assistant professor of statistics.

The goals of the LAS program are to improve recruitment and retention of high-achieving students from low-income backgrounds and groups underrepresented in STEM fields, to create enhanced educational opportunities that emphasize STEM fields, to strengthen academic support and services for low-income and underrepresented students in STEM, to prepare students to transition successfully to a STEM graduate program or career and to build a model program for expanding diversity across STEM fields in the U.S. and increasing the number of students who pursue STEM careers.

To be eligible for the program, students must demonstrate significant financial need, express interest in pursuing a major or career in a scientific, technological, engineering or mathematical field, show significant academic aptitude and intellectual potential, be a member of one or more groups underrepresented in STEM, including women, ethnic and racial minorities and first-generation college students, and meet the NSF’s citizenship requirements. The project team will work closely with St. Lawrence’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid to identify and select eligible candidates for the LAS Scholars program. 

“The main goal of the NSF’s S-STEM program is to strengthen the pipeline of students going into the STEM workforce or STEM graduate programs by providing scholarships,” Chapman said. “Thus, the funding from the NSF will allow us to provide substantial aid to high-achieving students with high financial need."