SOUTH BEND — Saint Mary’s College has been awarded $840,000 in grants to provide scholarships to students in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
A total of $600,000 will come from the National Science Foundation and $240,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation.
The Catholic women’s college is actively seeking to increase the number of students studying for careers in STEM fields. “These scholarships will help us with that,” said Patricia Fleming, senior vice president and dean of faculty.
Although students must be enrolled at Saint Mary’s to apply for the scholarships, the funding likely will help attract additional students, Fleming said. “Financial aid is at a premium these days. This gives us another opportunity to improve financial aid,” she said.
The NSF grant will provide scholarships for up to 20 Saint Mary’s students beginning in fall 2013. The program will cover four years and will benefit students majoring in biology, chemistry or mathematics and/or who are completing requirements for the dual degree program in engineering that is offered in conjunction with the University of Notre Dame.
The NSF scholarships will be worth up to $26,500: $6,500 during the student’s sophomore year and up to $10,000 during both junior and senior years, depending on financial need.
The Luce Scholarship program will provide four merit-based scholarships starting in fall 2013. The scholarships will cover tuition, fees and a book allowance for the final two years of schooling at Saint Mary’s. The scholarships will be available to majors in chemistry, mathematics or participating in the dual degree program in engineering. For Luce Scholarships, students must be U.S. citizens and have a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher.
For both scholarships, students will apply and recipients will be chosen by a selection committee. Neither scholarship will be available to students planning to pursue careers in health care professions.
Women make up nearly half of the labor force, but only one in four STEM jobs is held by a woman, according to a report released in March by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Employment in the STEM fields is expected to rise by 10 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the report, and, in some subspecialties, that growth is projected to be up to 30 percent.
In 2009, women in non-STEM careers had median annual earnings of $35,633, the report stated. In certain STEM fields, median earnings are much higher: ranging from $41,091 (for engineering technicians) to $71,944 (for electrical and electronics engineers).
Staff writer Margaret Fosmoe: