CONWAY, Ark. (December
20, 2017) – Hendrix College was recently awarded a five-year $650,000 Scholarships
in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant from the
National Science Foundation (NSF).
The grant will
provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships to academically
talented Federal Pell Grant-eligible students pursuing degrees in STEM fields
at Hendrix, covering all out-of-pocket expenses for four years. Additionally,
scholarship recipients will be provided with summer stipends for three years of
guaranteed research and internships, access to specialized mentoring, housing
in specialized learning communities, field trips to regional and national
laboratories, and opportunities to explore careers in all disciplines of the
program will be available to two cohorts of 10 S-STEM Scholars who enter Hendrix
in fall 2018 and fall 2019. STEM degrees available at Hendrix include: biology,
chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer science, biochemistry and
molecular biology, neuroscience, and chemical physics.
All Federal Pell
Grant-eligible students who apply to Hendrix will be able to compete for an
S-STEM scholarship. The College will further target students in
socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, including the Delta, the Arkansas River
Valley, and other rural areas of Arkansas, who are first-generation college
students, considered a racial and/or ethnic minority, or are from a family that
has recently immigrated.
“This is a unique
and valuable opportunity to welcome students from underrepresented backgrounds
to Hendrix College,” said Hendrix biology professor Dr. Laura MacDonald,
principal investigator for the S-STEM grant. “I am thrilled to be able to
recruit outstanding students who will make a significant contribution to the
campus community, and we are eager to support them through the programming
facilitated by this grant. It also presents an opportunity to evaluate which
practices are most important for student success. We are excited to work with
the students to contribute to the research literature on best practices for
retaining economically disadvantaged students in STEM. This NSF grant provides
the financial resources necessary for critical collaboration between faculty
and the STEM Scholars. I am looking forward to the partnerships, camaraderie,
and shared vision for increasing accessibility to STEM disciplines that this
program can bring with the students we will be able to support.”
added, “This grant was a team effort, and I am so excited to be working with
this group of individuals on this project.” She collaborated on the grant with Hendrix colleagues Dr.
Dionne Jackson (Diversity and Inclusion), Leigh Lassiter-Counts (Career
Services), Dr. Matthew Moran (Biology), and Dr. Leslie Zorwick (Psychology).
“I think the
three years of paid summer research is particularly important,” said Dr. Moran.
“This will allow students to get involved in real research throughout their
undergraduate years, have close supervision from a Hendrix faculty member, and
really learn the scientific process.”
“This grant is an
incredible opportunity for Hendrix to increase the number of underrepresented students
who major in STEM fields and to ensure their success at Hendrix and after
graduation,” said Hendrix President Bill Tsutsui.
program will build upon recent Hendrix initiatives to increase the diversity of
the student body, Tsutsui said.
“One of the main
priorities of our current strategic plan is to increase campus diversity at all
levels,” he said. “The S-STEM program will help Hendrix reach, recruit, and
retain low-income, Pell Grant-eligible, and often first-generation students who
are underrepresented in STEM fields.”
The S-STEM grant also recognizes
Hendrix’s role in educating STEM majors for Arkansas and the region. The
percentage of Hendrix students who graduate with a major in one of the natural
sciences is more than five times greater than the percentage of students
earning degrees in the natural sciences in all Arkansas colleges and
universities. According to the Baccalaureate Origins of Doctoral Recipients
Peer Comparison Tool, Hendrix ranks high nationally
for percentage of graduates completing a doctoral program in the sciences
(first among all colleges and universities in America in psychology, eighth in
chemistry, 24th in physical science, and 37th in life sciences).
Hendrix has a
63.6 percent four-year and 68 percent six-year graduation rate, 23 percent
higher than the national average for all institutions and 10 percent higher
than the average for private colleges and universities. Hendrix has the highest
retention rates of any college in Arkansas.
About Hendrix College
A private liberal
arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns
recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is
featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change
the Way You Think About Colleges.
Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix
as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876,
Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To
learn more, visit www.hendrix.edu.