STEM Scholarships Promote Student Success


For Nancy Moreno, a freshman majoring in Chemistry at Armstrong, receiving a STEM scholarship has helped her focus on her classes, rather than on how to pay for them.

“It’s a relief to not have to worry about financial aid and how I’m going to pay it back later,” said Nancy, who plans to become a pharmacist. “It’s really encouraging me to keep my GPA up high. It has definitely inspired me to do my best.”

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Scholarships are funded by the National Science Foundation, enabling universities like Armstrong to award scholarships for academically talented students with a demonstrated financial need. Since Armstrong first began awarding STEM scholarships in 2002, the university has supported 185 students pursuing undergraduate degrees in science, math and technology fields.

The university has distributed $1.1 million in scholarships over the past decade, making a difference in the lives of students, year after year. Currently, 35 Armstrong students have STEM Scholarships, which cover all of part of their tuition.

“One of the major reason so few students graduate in science fields at universities across the United States is because many students work and go to school at the same time,” said Suzanne Carpenter, associate professor of chemistry at Armstrong and STEM program liaison. “By providing scholarships to students with strong academic backgrounds, these students can devote more of their time and energy to pursuing degrees in the STEM disciplines.”

Carpenter has seen STEM Scholarship recipients at Armstrong go on to pursue careers as the U.S. Customs Lab and the Department of Natural Resources and various local and regional industrial labs after graduation. Many students also become science teachers or attend graduate school in a math or science-related field. “About half of our students go directly into the workforce after graduation,” she said. “The other half go on to medical school, graduate school or pharmacy school.”

For students like Max Hostetter, a senior majoring in Mathematics at Armstrong, the STEM Scholarship means he can reduce his heavy workload, which at one time included three part-time jobs, in addition to attending school full-time.

“It’s not nearly as stressful now,” said Max, who is currently applying to Math Ph.D. programs. “The STEM Scholarship has made a real difference for me.”