When I took office as President of Indiana Wesleyan University in July of 2014, one of the first goals I announced was to expand the footprint of the University in the Marion and Grant County community.
My commitment received a major boost earlier this year when we learned that IWU had received a $623,337 grant from the prestigious National Science Foundation to provide scholarships for students interested in the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The grant will be used to provide four-year scholarships to 18 academically talented but financially needy students to pursue undergraduate degrees in biology, chemistry and physics. While the scholarships are open to all IWU students, special effort will be made to recruit minorities, women and under-represented groups in the greater Grant County area.
In coming months, IWU representatives will be working with science teachers and guidance counselors at area high schools to begin identifying and recruiting candidates for the scholarships.
The first nine scholarship recipients will begin their studies at IWU in September of 2016. Five of the students will receive $9,000 annually, and four will receive $6,000 annually. A second group of nine students will start classes in September of 2017 with the same financial assistance.
IWU also will offer a Science Spotlight Day on November 20 to give prospective students an overview of the IWU Division of Natural Sciences. The program will include a special information session geared toward potential candidates for the National Science Foundation scholarships.
Click here to register for the Science Spotlight Day. The registration period ends November 19.
This is not the first National Science Foundation grant that IWU has received, but it is by far the largest. Almost as important as the money is the fact that IWU has joined the ranks of some of America’s top research universities.
The simple title of the grant proposal, “Scholarships for Boosting the Scientific Workforce in Rural Central Indiana,” doesn’t quite capture the excitement of what it means for IWU and the greater Grant County area.
Here’s how the owner of a high-tech business, located just a few blocks from the IWU campus, reacted to the announcement of the grant: “This means that someday I may be able to hire the kind of people I need just down the street and keep more Grant County students living and working in Grant County.”
In coming months and years, I look forward to seeking additional ways to expand IWU’s involvement in our local community.