A five –year program at Santa Rosa Junior College to provide 60 academically talented, low-income students with support and scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) has received $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Sonoma County-based college’s announcement stated the program aims to increase the number of students in STEM programs.

“The ideal STEM Miles student will be one who is academically talented, and with a financial need for support and majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, or Engineering,” Dr. Jan Kmetko, program principal investigator, stated in the announcement. “This extra support, paired with faculty mentoring and other activities, will help keep academically talented students focused, on track to a successful completion, and eventual transfer to a four-year institution or AA degree completion.”

He said researchers will track the students and the support they receive. The goal is to provide students with the “high touch, focused faculty-advising model” that is typically found at smaller, private four-year colleges or universities.

Each admitted student will receive a scholarship of up to $6,600 and will participate in the program for up to three years. Guided by close faculty mentoring, the students will participate in an array of activities that will encourage them 1) to acquire project, research, internship, and career skills, 2) to seek membership in professional STEM community and clubs, 3) to practice leadership skills, 4) to gain understanding of how science is done via acquisition of critical thinking skills, and 5) to promote advancement of STEM knowledge.

This grant is being led by principal investigator Kmetko, from the Chemistry & Physics Department, and co-principal investigator Abigail Zoger, from the Biological Sciences Department. Funding for Scholarships in STEM is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award No. 17 17-527.