Sunday, September 8, 2013

National Science Foundation awards UNE $620,000 for STEM scholarships for Maine students

, Maine - A dozen academically talented students from Maine will soon receive scholarships to the University of New England thanks to a $620,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support education and careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).

The Maine Mathematics and Science Scholars for School and University Collaboration Centered on Educating STEM Students Program-or SUCCESS, for short-will provide four-year scholarships to at least 12 Maine students majoring in STEM disciplines, beginning with the UNE Class of 2018.

Current high school juniors and seniors with demonstrated financial need are the focus of these scholarships. First-generation students and those from under-represented groups are also encouraged to apply.

UNE assistant professor James Quinlan, Ph.D., and primary investigator on the grant, says, "This NSF funding opens the door to outstanding Maine students who want to pursue an education at UNE and a career in STEM, but who otherwise would be challenged to do so because of financial obstacles."

Other UNE faculty named in the NSF award are professor Susan J. Hillman, Ph.D., associate professor John M. Stubbs, Ph.D., assistant professor Craig M. Tennenhouse, Ph.D., and professor James Vesenka, Ph.D. as co-principal investigators, and associate professor Michael Cripps, Ph.D. as key collaborator.

Scholarship Package

The $10,000 annual SUCCESS scholarship will be awarded together with UNE merit and financial aid, providing a significant scholarship package to the recipients. Hillman says, "I'm a Maine native who grew up on a farm in central Maine and after my family had to sell the farm, we moved to the northern part of the state where I graduated from high school. Without scholarships and the support and encouragement of others, I wouldn't have been able to attend college. These scholarships will remove financial barriers and enable 12 promising Maine students to achieve their dreams of going to college."

"We're looking at the whole student, not just SAT scores," adds Quinlan.

The SUCCESS program complements a successful, innovative NSF-funded project now entering its fifth year at UNE. Known as SPARTACUS, the program partners UNE researchers and their graduate students with the local K-12 community.

The program uses the settings of the Saco River watershed and UNE's Saco River Coastal Observing System (SaRCOS) to enable graduate fellows to share their roles as scientific investigators of the watershed with the K-12 students. Since it launched in 2009, the program has connected 2,162 K-12 Maine students with 22 UNE graduate students.

"It is our hope that the unique hands-on learning opportunities created by SPARTACUS sparked a passion for science and for UNE in some of these students, and we highly encourage them to apply for the SUCCESS scholarship," adds Hillman.

Leadership Activities

The SUCCESS scholars will be engaged in UNE leadership activities from the moment they step on campus-such as Trailblazers, UNE's leadership and community building program; the Summer Bridge Program, a one-week academic "boot camp;" faculty mentorship; internships and career guidance. SUCCESS scholars must maintain a 3.0 grade-point-average at UNE. "This is a highly collaborative program across the entire university, and we're committed to ensuring they succeed," says Quinlan.

The scholarships will be awarded in two cohorts-six each in the Class of 2018 and Class of 2019. Students must be recommended by their high school guidance counselors and invited to apply; the SUCCESS application includes an essay and personal interview.


Deadline for the Class of 2018 is January 15, 2014. For more information, please contact the UNE Financial Aid Office at 207-602-2342 or visit the website.

(News release posted September 7, 2013)

Source: Une