UNCP lands grant to help science students

By Jaymie Baxley

May 14, 2014

PEMBROKE — Students pursuing degrees in science at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will reap the rewards of a $618,993 grant that was recently awarded to the college.

The money was awarded in April by the National Science Foundation as part of its Creating Opportunities for Students in Science initiative and will provide $6,000 in annual scholarships for 27 students in their second year of study for Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Biochemistry.

“One of our greatest needs is for financial aid for our students and some of our strongest programs are in the sciences,” said Scott Bigelow, public information officer for The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. “This will strengthen those programs by helping students make it through college in a timely way.”

The program will be overseen by Maria Santisteban, a Biology professor and molecular geneticist who helped co-author the grant last summer.

“Students today do not work 10 to 12 hours a week to help pay for college. They work 20 to 30 hours and sometimes late into the night,” Santisteban said. “If we provide the financial aid, they will not feel obligated to work. Our goal is to graduate these students on a timely basis and working so many hours puts them at-risk.”

To be considered for the scholarships, students must retain a 3.0 GPA, provide two faculty recommendations, submit an essay and pass an interview.

Grant programs at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke are directed by Rebecca Bullard-Dillard, who will serve as the program’s co-lead scientist.

“The (Creating Opportunities for Students in Science program) will build campus resources in teaching, research, recruitment and financial support,” Bullard-Dillard said. “It helps to meet our goals of increasing retention and graduation rates.”