$2.5M NSF S-STEM Grant to Support Students Majoring in Computing, Data Sciences
By College of Engineering Staff
A newly awarded $2.5M National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) grant—spearheaded by Professor and Associate Dean Daniel Burkey—will support low-income and first-generation students majoring in computing and data science at the University of Connecticut (UConn).
Burkey, associate dean for undergraduate education in the College of Engineering and Castleman Term Professor of Engineering Innovation, said UConn will use the grant—titled “Community, Identity, and Competence: Supporting Low-Income Students in Computing and the Data Sciences”—to assist approximately 30 students over the next six years of the grant. Students, who will go through an application and selection process, will be eligible for up to $15,000 per year throughout the entirety of their degree.
S-STEM is a signature program from the NSF that supports low-income and first-generation students with academic ability, talent, or potential in pursuing successful careers in promising STEM fields. The grant includes scholarship funds as well as a cohort model that provides various programmatic, curricular, and co-curricular activities to ensure that students are well-supported, from matriculation through graduation, and prepared for the workforce or further graduate study.
“The computing majors in the College of Engineering at UConn have seen tremendous growth in the last five years,” Burkey said. “This S-STEM award helps us make strides in attracting and supporting students in these majors.”
Burkey, who is the lead principal investigator (P.I.) on the grant, will oversee a team including co-investigators Andy Moiseff, professor of physiology and neurobiology and CLAS associate dean for research and graduate affairs, and Tadarryl Starke, Ed.D, associate vice provost of the Institute for Student Success. Laurent Michel, professor of computer science and engineering, and Elizabeth Schifano, associate professor of statistics and undergraduate program advisor for mathematics-statistics and statistics majors, also will participate in the program as senior personnel in support of students.
A recent UConn Today story notes that approximately 30% of incoming UConn students have family incomes that qualify them for Federal Pell Grant aid.
“A scholarship up to $15,000 per year for a student makes a tremendous impact on the affordability of college and can be transformative for their ability to persist and complete their degree,” Burkey said.
In addition to the computing majors, the grant also will support students in the Data Sciences, which has new majors in both the College of Engineering (Data Science and Engineering) as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS – Statistical Data Science and Applied Data Analysis).
“These majors are critical to supporting the growing demand for graduates with these skillsets, both here in Connecticut and nation-and-world-wide,” Burkey said. “Many of these fields are looking at 10 to 20% growth in the coming decade. By attracting and supporting students in these in-demand fields, UConn is poised to be a leader in workforce development in these areas critical to the state’s continued prominence in high-tech industries.”
The application for the program will be open for students starting in Fall 2024.