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By Rebecca Keister
PBN Staff Writer
BRISTOL – Rogers Williams University has received a $586,600 pledge from the National Science Foundation to support is STEM Intercultural Leadership Scholars program through scholarship contributions, the school announced Wednesday.
The NSF awarded a $149,500 grant for this year with $437,000 to follow in subsequent years.
The program, which targets underrepresented students, will offer 15 students studying engineering, biology and marine biology, four-year, $26,000 per year scholarships.
“Solving the grand challenges in engineering and the sciences relies on bringing to the table individuals from a wide array of backgrounds,” said Linda Riley, engineering program coordinator, professor, and STILAS steering committee member, in a statement. “You always find a richer solution.”
The STILAS program was developed to bring a diverse population of academically talented students into programs centered in the STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics - fields and to build on the university’s Intercultural Leadership Ambassador initiative, which offers students peer mentors, academic tutors, and other activities that promote graduate school and STEM employment opportunities.
“When our classrooms are home to students who offer a diversity of experiences, that adds value to the education we provide,” said Lonnie Guralnick, interim dean of the Feinstein College of Arts and Sciences and STILAS steering committee member, said in a statement. “Students take on questions from different perspectives – that makes us more effective scientists who are culturally aware.”
STILAS also focuses on establishing partnerships with urban high schools in the Northeast that focus on STEM education.
The STILAS steering committee will identify four scholarship recipients for the 2012-2013 year and expand the number in subsequent years for a total of 15 students enrolled over the five-year grant.
Recipients must enroll in a STEM program, have overcome a life challenge in pursuit of education, be first-generation college students or speak English as a second language, and come to the university from an under-resourced community.