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Chemistry & Physics Scholarships

NSF Awards More than Half Million Dollar Grant to ECU for Chemistry/Physics Scholarships

GREENVILLE, N.C. (March 5, 2014) — East Carolina University’s Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences is the recipient of a $620,884 grant from the National Science Foundation that will support chemistry and physics scholarships. Under the direction of Drs. Allison S. Danell, Anthony M. Kennedy and Anne Marie Spuches from chemistry, and Drs. Regina DeWitt and John M. Kenney from physics, “The Chemistry and Physics Scholarship Program” will provide access to higher education to students with solid academic preparation who have the potential to succeed in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines.

The scholarship program will provide support for 24 academically talented students with financial need, determined by the FAFSA, and recruited as two cohorts. Incoming freshman will receive $5,000 and may qualify for up to $10,000 their sophomore, junior and senior years. Scholars will be majors in chemistry or physics.

“In effect, students could qualify for up to $35,000 in scholarship funds – determined by financial need using federal guidelines – over their four years at ECU,” said Kennedy, assistant professor of chemistry and director of the forensic science program.

“The majority of these students will be first generation students from an economically stressed region,” said Kennedy. “They will become messengers for science, disseminating their experiences as STEM majors and encouraging more talented students to follow in their path.”

Additionally, the students’ interactions with other STEM scholars will provide them with a unique perspective on the role of other disciplines in STEM. Scholars will be given opportunities and encouraged to demonstrate a commitment to local and regional science activities, thereby instilling a sense of civic responsibility and awareness.

Last fall, Harriot College’s Departments of Chemistry and Physics started a Living Learning Community at ECU. An LLC is a special area of a dorm dedicated to housing intended science majors. These students take classes together and participate in other special activities.

“We think it really helps create a supportive, engaging community for freshmen,” said Kennedy.

The scholarship program adopts a multidisciplinary approach by recruiting chemistry and physics majors and placing them in a combined LLC for their entire four years, housed in the same residence hall as the ECU Honors LLC and Bio-Excellence LLC.

“The Living Learning Community, which forms the backbone of the proposal, will be enriched by the presence of first generation students and will continue to provide rewards to ECU beyond the funding period,” said Danell, interim chair of the Department of Chemistry. “The students we educate and mentor will share their experiences, encouraging many more young scientists to pursue an education in STEM disciplines, which will provide a strong foundation for innovation and economic development not just regionally but nationally.”

The overall goals of the scholarship program are increased retention in STEM, shorter average time to graduation and higher GPAs.

Interested students should contact Kennedy at 252-328-9816 or kennedyan@ecu.edu, or complete an application for the living learning community at https://ecu.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9GFP4Oz4Vp4LpEp. Interviews will be conducted at ECU’s spring open house on April 5.