NSF Grant Helps Strapped MSU Engineering Students

EAST LANSING — A $1 million National Science Foundation grant will help second- and third-year engineering students with financial needs continue on their paths to graduation.

Attracting talented students into science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM disciplines, does little good if financial strains derail a student’s plans midway to graduation.

The NSF grant to the Michigan State University Colleges of Engineering and Education will help students persist through the financial and academic challenges facing them.

Eligible MSU engineering students will receive $8,000 per year in tuition and targeted support services during their second and third years of college. In total, the funds will support four cohorts of nine students each.

A team from the two colleges, led by S. Patrick Walton, associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science and director of the Engineering CoRe Experience first-year program, recently created Supporting Excellent Engineers, or SEE, for mid-year engineering students.

“Unfortunately, we lose many talented students each year, students who have the potential to be great engineers, simply due to their lack of funds to pay tuition,” Walton said. “This grant will allow us to help some of these students stay in school and provide support structures that will, among other things, connect them with internship and co-op opportunities, with salaries that will further support their academic progress.”

Walton said the SEE team will select participants based on their first-year academic performance and their financial need, then provide targeted academic and professional development support. The first stipends will be awarded in the 2017-18 academic year.

Other members of the SEE team include Daina Briedis, assistant dean for Student Advancement and Program Assessment and associate professor of chemical engineering and materials science; Theo Caldwell, director of the Engineering Diversity Programs Office; Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia, associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education; and Mark Urban-Lurain, associate professor and associate director for Engineering Education Research, CREATE for STEM Institute.

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