NSF Grants Nearly $1 Million to Biology Transitions Program

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NSF Grants Nearly $1 Million to Lewis University Biology Transfer Student Program

Published: January 19, 2018.

A nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation was awarded to the Lewis University Biology Transitions program. The NSF grant of $961,000 provides funding for 28 scholarships over 5 years for transfer students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences.

The Biology Transitions program will provide support to low-income students with demonstrated financial need and academic promise to succeed in STEM disciplines at Lewis University. Dr. Marne Bailey, associate professor of biology, Jeannette Pifer, instructor of biology, and Dr. Lauren Rentfro, associate professor of secondary education, will oversee the new program.

The Biology Transitions program will expose students to a learning model that emphasizes critical thinking and problem solving while providing support to transfer students as they transition to a four-year institution from a community college. It will establish a sustainable and replicable model of communication between area community colleges and Lewis University. It also will develop effective programming between them, providing a supportive pathway for underrepresented, economically disadvantaged transfer students to be successful in a four-year university environment.

In addition to scholarships, the program will incorporate intensive mentoring, academic support, and undergraduate research opportunities to ensure that at least 80 percent of Biology Transitions participants will graduate. Professional guidance in the internship, graduate, and professional school application process will advance students toward STEM professions and increase the number of graduating scholars who continue in a STEM field through employment or graduate school.

This is the third NSF grant Lewis University has received in recent years to fund student scholarships in STEM areas. In 2015, a $613,428 NSF grant was in support of the STEM Connections program in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Physics, and Chemical Physics. Later that year, Lewis University received a $1.4 million grant to support the implementation of the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program to better prepare undergraduate majors in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics to become 6-12th-grade mathematics or science teachers.

Lewis University is an innovative and entrepreneurial Catholic university offering market-relevant undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,500 students. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis University is nationally recognized for preparing intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected and socially responsible graduates. Visit www.lewisu.edu for further information.

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