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Montana Tech Receives Funding to Continue Montana Minds' Scholarship


7/24/2012

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Montana Tech $145,829 in year one funding as part of a continuing grant in the amount of $597,181 to support Montana Tech’s project, Montana Minds - Scholarships for Science, Engineering, and Mathematics. Scholarships will be available in 2013-14.

The Montana Minds project, which will run until 2016, is under the direction of Principle Investigator Dr. Douglas A. Coe, dean of the College of Letters, Sciences & Professional Studies; co-Principle Investigators, Dr. Amy J. Kuenzi, Biological Sciences department head, Dr. Richard Rossi, Mathematical Sciences department head, Dr. Douglas Cameron, Chemistry department head, and Dr. Michele Van Dyne, associate professor in Computer Science; Senior Personnel, Amy Verlanic and Annette Kankelborg; and Evaluator, Rayelynn Connole.

Montana Minds will award renewable scholarships to 20 academically prepared but financially challenged students to help them obtain degrees in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) degree disciplines of biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or software engineering. Montana Tech will work with TRiO and GEAR UP staff and will target recruiting at 24 of Montana’s impoverished high schools, including all 13 tribal high schools, and 7 tribal colleges.

"Winning this grant recognizes our outstanding programs and Tech’s excellent faculty and staff," noted Montana Tech chancellor Don Blackketter. "This fantastic award certainly benefits the students, Montana Tech, and the State of Montana as we work at ensuring our STEM programs are accessible to students regardless of financial ability."

Strategies being used to support scholarship recipients include:
  • enrolling Montana Minds’ scholars in Learning Communities that will ensure students take several classes together and interact academically and socially to develop as a cohesive self-sustaining learning group;
  • enrolling Montana Minds’ scholars, during their first years on campus, in a College Success course designed to instill and sharpen the skills needed to succeed in college;
  • advising within a discipline by a single STEM faculty member who will mentor each student’s progress and catalyze relationships with other STEM faculty;
  • assigning carefully selected upper division undergraduate mentor/tutors to assist the Montana Minds’ scholars with their studies and help build community among these scholars;
  • assisting Montana Minds’ scholars in pursuing faculty mentored undergraduate research;
  • visiting, during the Montana Minds’ scholars freshman and sophomore years, national science and engineering laboratories to witness science and engineering done on a grand scale;
  • providing the financial support for each of the scholars to attend a national meeting during their junior year to broaden their acquaintance with the scope of their discipline; and
  • encouraging the Montana Minds’ scholars to become involved with student clubs in their discipline.

"The Montana Tech Montana Minds’ program aims to improve opportunities for students, increase graduation rates and encourage career interests in STEM fields, create a more student-focused culture at Montana Tech, and educate faculty on the challenges facing financially disadvantaged students," added Dr. Doug Coe.