Athens State Awarded $650K Grant from the National Science Foundation

Founders Hall

Athens State University has been awarded a $649,828 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. With the funds, the University has created the Athens State Scholars in STEM (ASSIST) program. Over its four-year duration, this project will fund scholarships to 30-45 unique full or part time transfer students who are pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in Mathematics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Biology, or Chemistry. Transfer students will receive 2-4 years of scholarships depending on whether they are taking courses full or part-time.

ASSIST is funded by NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, which seeks to increase the number of low-income, academically-talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers, and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation, and academic/career pathways of low-income students. 

Athens State University is an upper-division university catering exclusively to transfer students, the majority of whom are non-traditional. The ASSIST program will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Athens State University. It will combine scholarships with a variety of student support programs aimed at addressing common STEM transfer student barriers. Support programs will include structured faculty mentorship, access to laptops and online tutoring services, cohort and peer support activities, project-based learning opportunities focused on research and career preparation, and an online learning community that connects participants with peers and community mentors.

Through efficient advising, encouraging degree completion, and providing resources to balance work, life, and education, this project will assist students in completing their STEM degree in a timely manner and facilitate their transition into the workforce.

“We are pleased to receive this grant from the National Science Foundation and are excited about the opportunities it will create for Athens State STEM students,” said Dr. Shannon Pittman, Assistant Professor of Biology. “These funds will allow us to financially support and mentor students as they pursue STEM-related careers that are vital to our local and regional economy.”

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