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By Madelyn Birmingham
Content Writer, Siena Heights University
September 29, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded Siena Heights University (SHU) a $1 million grant for the “Improving STEM Education in the Community” project. The grant will provide $1 million for scholarships, equipment, and supplies for advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education over three years.
The project aims to address the national need for well-trained STEM professionals by supporting the education, retention, and graduation of STEM majors at Siena Heights.
“Students love experiential learning, and I’m so thankful for this opportunity to provide more state-of-the-art equipment and workforce development for our STEM majors,” said Jun Tsuji, PhD, the primary spearhead for this grant. As the Assistant Dean of STEM, he is committed to improving the STEM experience at Siena Heights.
A combined $300,000 will be awarded in STEM scholarships, increasing yearly from $50,000 in the first year, $100,000 in the second year, and $150,000 in the third year. The scholarships will be available for full- or part-time students majoring in biology, chemistry, environmental science, environmental engineering, general engineering, mathematics, data analytics, or cybersecurity. In addition, recipients must meet Title IV residency requirements.
The remaining $700,000 will be used in the first year for STEM equipment. The Siena Heights University STEM program plans to buy FANUC robotic arms, Stratasys industrial 3D printers, a Universal Laser engraver, a 3D scanner, CAD software, demonstration solar arrays and wind turbines, drones, and more.
The grant will assist in producing graduates who are prepared to address local, regional, and national STEM workforce needs. As part of the grant proposal and agreement, Siena Heights has committed to tracking the progress of these goals through data collection on the number of students, student survey responses, retention rates, and graduation rates.
“This grant will help us attract and retain the best and brightest STEM students and will provide them with the resources they need to succeed,” said Douglas B. Palmer, PhD, President of Siena Heights University. “Siena Heights is confident that this funding will help us prepare the next generation of STEM leaders, who will leave the workforce more competent, purposeful, and ethical than they found it.”
Siena Heights University has received federal funding for STEM over the past five years. In March 2018, the university was awarded a National Science Foundation S-STEM Track 1 grant for nearly $650,000. Building on its previous success, Siena was approved for the National Science Foundation S-STEM Track 2 funding of $1.5 million in July 2022.