National Science Foundation grant to support ‘STEM’ majors at Penn College

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- The National Science Foundation is recognizing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s commitment to applied technology education with a $616,417 grant to benefit students.

Provided through the NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, the five-year grant aims to increase retention, degree completion and career preparation for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies at Penn College.

The majority of the grant’s funds will be devoted to scholarships. Approximately 20 students will be awarded scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years. The first scholarships will be awarded during the 2014-15 academic year.

“This grant allows us to bring high-performing students to Penn College who might otherwise not have the means to do so,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs/provost. “It is likely to be a life-changing opportunity for these students. They will ultimately gain an education that will prepare them for a lifetime of success.”

The college chose the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies for the grant because it offers many STEM-related degrees, including unique baccalaureate-level programs in high-demand fields.

The school consists of seven departments: welding, plastics and polymer, electronics and computer engineering technology, automated manufacturing and machining, engineering design technology, information technology, and electrical.

David S. Richards, professor of physics, served as the principal investigator for the college’s successful grant application.

“I decided to take on the challenge of writing the grant because I know a lot of students who need to work in order to support themselves while in college,” Richards said. “The grant provides a means for the scholarship recipients to focus on their education and reduces the need to find employment while taking classes.”

“The college is deeply appreciative of the extensive work Dr. David Richards put into the grant submission and his commitment to the students the grant will impact,” said Starkey. “David and his co-investigators -- David R. Cotner, dean of the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, and Stacey C. Hampton, assistant dean -- will be directly involved in bringing more students to our STEM-related disciplines and helping the students succeed.”

In addition to scholarship recipients, the grant will benefit other students seeking bachelor’s degrees in the academic school. Grant funds will provide support for initiatives such as faculty and peer mentorship, advanced tutoring, designated study spaces, workshops, field trips to area industries and internships.

For more about the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies at Penn College, call 570-327-4520 or visit www.pct.edu/ICET.

For more about Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial throughout 2014, visit www.pct.edu, email admissions@pct.edu or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

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Last Updated April 16, 2014