Updated: 5/15/2015 10:45 AM CST By Tom Joyner Foundation
For Immediate Release
May 8, 2015
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Wiley College receives National Science Foundation Grant to enhance STEM Program
$500,000 grant will fund Pre-College Math Program, undergraduate research, two new STEM minors
(Marshall, Texas) The Division of Sciences at Wiley College has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help foster, develop, and retain students’ interest in studying and earning degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The grant will be carried out under the direction of Dr. Ruth Washington, Dean of the Division of Sciences; Dr. Walter Shumate, Associate Professor of Chemistry; and Mr. Llancyllius Williams, Instructor of Mathematics. This is the largest National Science Foundation grant the College has received.
About the grant
Aptly titled, “Building on a Foundation of Stone: The Future Growth of Wiley College’s Division of Sciences,” the three-year grant will focus on retaining, educating, and graduating well-qualified students who will go on to complete graduate school and pursue careers in STEM fields. These outcomes would contribute to the attainment of the underlying goals of increasing the number of racial and/or ethnic minorities working and teaching in STEM fields.
“The greatest strength of this country is its diversity,” said Dr. Washington. “And seeing a more diverse workforce and a more diverse faculty positively influences minority students, many of whom, such as our students at Wiley, are first- generation college students.”
The impetus for Wiley’s grant is also rooted in breaking the cycle of poverty for the families of students from low socioeconomic backgrounds who enter open-enrollment institutions of higher learning or minority-serving colleges and universities in general.
Impact of STEM
“Students who earn degrees boost their earning power, and students who earn STEM degrees are more likely to have higher salaries than non-STEM majors,” said Dr. Washington. “Pursuing higher paying careers is a key element in enabling low-income families to transition and make improvements in their quality of life that can result in greater long-term wealth and helping to close the poverty gap.”
One major activity of the grant is the opening of a Pre-College Summer Math Program for new STEM-major freshmen to increase and enhance their math comprehension and aptitude so they will perform well enough on placement tests to enroll in Pre-calculus I. In year two of the grant, the Division of Sciences will establish a minor degree in physics and a minor degree in computer science to expand students’ interest in and entry into quantitative sciences. Wiley’s Division of Sciences will also establish a STEM Journal Club and Undergraduate Research Program to increase experiences and opportunities that will strengthen students’ critical thinking as well as their commitment to studying in STEM fields.
The Division of Sciences also plans to share initial findings from the implementation of the National Science Foundation grant during its “Open Door Admission Institutions for STEM Conference” that will be hosted by Wiley College in 2017.