For immediate release
$649,826 Grant Will Go Toward Scholarships for Students in Need
Learning Communities Will Be Used to Improve Student Success and Retention
Pittsburgh, Pa. – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Carlow University a grant of $649,826 to be used for the recruitment, retention, graduation, and placement of academically talented students with financial need who are interested in majoring in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors that the university offers, specifically the Carlow majors are: chemistry, biology, or data analytics.
The Carlow project, which will be known as C-STEM (short for Celtic-STEM; Celtic being the nickname of the university’s athletics’ teams), will provide scholarship money of up to $10,000 per student, and will support the formation of two learning communities: one created for the support of student success and the other created for faculty in STEM fields to share best practices in teaching STEM subjects.
As with all NSF grants, there is a research component attached to this grant. Carlow will investigate the factors that contribute to success for low-income women who major in a STEM subject.
“Very few studies have examined the extent to which learning communities contribute to female students’ success, particularly those with great financial need,” said David Gallaher, PhD, a chemistry professor and the principal investigator for the grant. “This project will generate evidence to support sustained programming and transferability to similar undergraduate universities, especially those, like Carlow, who serve a high percentage of women students.”
For the research, a social science researcher at Carlow will conduct a study measuring the impact STEM learning communities have on students’ self-perception relating to confidence in overall college success, and how their attitudes, learning experiences and intrinsic motivation in STEM subjects may ease the social transition to college.
“We believe dual learning communities – one for students and one for faculty – is a novel approach to researching the factors that contribute to student success,” said Gallaher.
In addition to Gallaher, the principal investigator, co-principal investigators include: Ericka Mochan, PhD, program director of data analytics; Beth Surlow, PhD, biology faculty; Matthew Gordley, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Science; and Stephanie Wilsey, PhD, the vice president of Academic Affairs at Portage Learning.