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Science Department Awarded Grant from National Science Foundation

by PJ Dumnich

After six years of hard work and multiple attempts, Pitt-Greensburg’s science department has been awarded the National Science Foundation Grant.

The entire science department worked together to create a 16-page application stating why the University deserves the award.

While many factors contributed to the University’s success, the most important may have been the innovative Science Seminar course–a freshman seminar class offered to science majors that has increased the number of returning sophomore biology majors by 39 percent.

Of the $636,290 that was awarded to Pitt-Greensburg, four-fifths of the money will be allocated specifically to scholarships for biology and chemistry majors.

Dr. Mark Stauffer, an associate professor of chemistry at Pitt-Greensburg, who contributed to compiling the grant application, said, “the ultimate goal is to attract new students to Pitt-Greensburg.”

Students can be awarded up to $10,000–as long as they require the financial aid; live in Fayette, Washington, or a rural part of Westmoreland County; and maintain a 3.0 G.P.A.

In addition, these requirements, students that are interested in the scholarship must “aspire to move onto a graduate program in order to be considered,” said Dr. Olivia Long, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Pitt-Greensburg and the co-primary investigator of the grant.

The remaining fifth of the grant will be dedicated to the scholarship winners that need help paying for additional courses to prepare for graduate school.

Of the freshman and transfer students that apply, only six students per year for five years will be awarded scholarships, creating a competitive environment.

Overall, it will be something that benefits Pitt-Greensburg as a whole.

“We couldn’t have done it without the full support of science faculty that have each written a letter in support of this grant and agreed to become mentors for students,” Long said.

Support for this scholarship program is being provided by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S STEM) program under Award No. 1458289. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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