Attract Talent

“We have many students who want to do science but can’t come to Saint Mary’s because they can’t afford it,” said Chris Jones, professor and chair of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

Now, with a $617,000 S-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation—the largest funding of its type in the school’s history—such worthy, qualified science and math students have a better chance. With the NSF scholarships, Saint Mary’s can offer full tuition over the next five years to 24 incoming freshmen who plan to major in chemistry, biochemistry, physics or mathematics, have financial need and are eligible for Pell Grants.

The scholarships also come with a fortifying dose of mentoring, a place to live with other like-minded students in the science living and learning community in Assumption Hall, and workshops, programs and resources in the STEM-focused First Year Advising Cohort and STEM Career Gateway program. These new and developing programs will help prepare budding scientists for future careers or graduate school.

One of the first recipients of the new NSF scholarships is physics major Marin Gonzales ’18, whose brothers are studying STEM disciplines elsewhere. The scholarship makes him feel independent and removes some of the financial burden from his parents. Gonzales loves the opportunity to live in Assumption Hall. “We share common characteristics. It’s like a family,” he said.

Gonzales is just the kind of student Saint Mary’s hopes to attract. “The NSF grant is a very competitive process, and it’s no small accomplishment to receive one,” said Roy Wensley, dean of the School of Science. “We know we have a high quality program. This just validates it.”

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