School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

The Meredith College School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The award is expected to total $997,077.

“Meredith is a smaller liberal arts college that has a strong background in preparing and supporting women for careers in STEM-related fields,” said Professor of Mathematics Jennifer Hontz. “To be awarded the grant from NSF is both validating and rewarding – it is an exciting opportunity to continue and to expand the level of support for women in STEM.”

Meredith will use the grant to launch the Advancing Women’s Education in STEM (AWE-STEM) Scholars Program, which will allow Meredith to provide additional scholarship and programming support for students majoring in STEM fields beginning next fall.

“The AWE-STEM Scholars Program is consistent with the mission and vision of Meredith College – to help young women realize and build on their strengths, to broaden their perspective, and to prepare them for roles of impact and leadership,” said Professor of Chemistry Walda Powell.

The program will provide a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing majors in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, and mathematics. A merit and need-based scholarship of $4,500 per year will be awarded to students who qualify for the program.

As AWE-STEM scholars, students will participate in a specialized learning community, a mentoring program, and will have the opportunity to participate in a Summer AWE-STEM Institute. Students will also conduct undergraduate research, and attend a Women in STEM speakers program.

“Meredith has a long history in supporting women in STEM-related disciplines. Funded by NSF from 2004 through 2015 in three awards, the College continues to support the Paschal Scholars program, with more than 50 students having received scholarship support and STEM-related programming,” said Senior Vice President and Provost Matthew Poslusny. “The NSF-funded AWE-STEM program is a natural next step, increasing the levels of support and programming opportunities at Meredith for women entering STEM-related fields.”

The AWE-STEM Scholars Program is under the direction of Hontz, Powell, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Maria Pickering and Dean of Natural and Mathematical Sciences Liz Wolfinger, who worked to secure the grant.

Melyssa Allen

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