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Bryant University Secures $650,000 NSF Grant to Fund STEM Scholars Program

Bryant University has been awarded a $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program. The grant will support Bryant’s new STEM Scholars program, which funds scholarships and programming to remove barriers to success in STEM education for academically talented students with demonstrated financial need, particularly women, minorities, and low-income students.

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“Bryant is a leading university in the Northeast for education at the intersection of business, liberal arts and STEM,” says Bryant President Ross Gittell, Ph.D. “Our distinctive real-world education prepares future leaders to succeed in an increasingly data, science and technology-driven economy and 40% of Bryant students pursue a STEM major, minor or concentration. We are grateful that this NSF grant will allow us to expand student opportunities in growing STEM and related fields.”

“Congratulations to the dedicated faculty who developed the Bryant STEM Scholars program and secured this grant for enhancing undergraduate enrollment, persistence and graduation in science and mathematics- with a particular emphasis on enrollment of women in STEM.”

“Bryant is a remarkable institution dedicated to ensuring students benefit from an interdisciplinary educational experience that extends beyond the classroom. Students will engage in a number of high-impact practices that currently exist at Bryant or will be enhanced and implemented as a result of the grant,” says Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., Director of the Bryant University Center for Health and Behavioral Sciences, Chair of the Department of Science and Technology, and a principal investigator for the grant and research.

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Approximately 75% of the grant allocation will be for scholarships. In addition, Bryant’s STEM Scholars program will provide comprehensive instructional support building on the University’s student-centered focus, faculty and peer mentorship, experiential learning opportunities, the first-year IDEA (Innovation and Design Experience for All) program, Amica Center for Career Education, and programs for Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

“We already have strong and nationally-recognized programs in Actuarial Science, Applied Mathematics, and Science,” says Rick Gorvett, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of the Mathematics department, and a principal investigator for the grant and research. “By building on these strengths, we look forward to identifying and working with many talented young people and providing assistance to help them become leaders in their STEM fields.”

A critical aspect of the program will be ongoing faculty research on the effectiveness of planned evidence-based curricular and co-curricular activities on student success. The research will provide further insight into how to best support students in these critical yet demanding fields.

“This grant, and the accompanying research, represents a chance for Bryant to solidify and enhance its position as a leader in STEM recruitment and education,” adds Gorvett.

Working closely with principal investigators Hokeness and Gorvett on program implementation and research are co-investigators Allison Butler, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and IDEA Program Director; Alicia Lamere, Ph.D., Professor of Mathematics; and Christopher Reid, Ph.D., Professor of Science and Technology. William Zywiak, Ph.D., Lecturer of Mathematics, will serve as grant coordinator, and Irene Glasser, Ph.D., Research Associate in Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown University, will serve as external evaluator of the program.

Investigators on the grant will research the effectiveness of the various strategies to determine which practices are most impactful for student success and will serve as a model for other institutions working to enhance student success in this area.

“Our longstanding commitment to student success in the STEM disciplines and our passion for teaching are the drivers of this effort. We hope to build awareness and attract more students to study these programs at Bryant where they can build their capabilities and confidence as they prepare for career success,” says Hokeness.

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