RWU selected from 500 proposals for $1 million grant

Low-income students will receive tuition assistance to study science and communication

By Kristen Ray
Posted 9/14/18

Four Roger Williams University faculty members were granted a welcome surprise at the start of the school year as they secured a $999,999 award from the National Science Foundation to provide …

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RWU selected from 500 proposals for $1 million grant

Low-income students will receive tuition assistance to study science and communication

Posted

Four Roger Williams University faculty members were granted a welcome surprise at the start of the school year as they secured a $999,999 award from the National Science Foundation to provide low-income undergraduate students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-oriented degree programs partial scholarships as they study the impacts of science communication.

“The research we will be doing will be focused on three primary questions about how science communication can increase a student’s self-efficacy in science, in retention and performance,” said Center for Student Academic Success Associate Director Karen Bilotti.

Beginning next school year, Ms. Bilotti will join RWU faculty members Professor of Biology Brian Wysor, Science Center Coordinator Tracey McDonnell Wysor and Associate Professor of Engineering William Palm as they serve as mentors to the 20 students — referred to as “RISE scholars” — who are expected to receive the partial scholarships. By working with faculty advisors and existing partnering organizations, they will guide RISE scholars through their work in classes, research and internships as they strive to become experts in sharing their findings effectively with the public.

“We will focus on all mediums of communication, and they’ll be expected to be fluent in communicating their science, orally and in writing,” said Mrs. McDonnell Wysor. 

Encouraged to pursue experiential learning opportunities as early as sophomore year at the university, students will tie in these additional communication efforts with their own areas of interest and expertise in their respective degree programs.

“We’re there to support those in their own pursuit in research and internships,” said Ms. Bilotti.

By receiving this grant, the university’s new program — chosen from over 500 other proposals — hopes to further strides in positively shaping the future of the STEM industries and their connection to the community.

“We need to continue making smart investments in growing our STEM workforce. These scholarships will enable more high-achieving, deserving students with financial needs to pursue these critical fields and get a world-class education right here at Roger Williams University,” said U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

To be considered for the scholarship, applicants must be in strong standing with their high school, provide an essay detailing their passion for science and exhibit financial need. Recipients of the scholarships will be expected to uphold a minimum 3.0 GPA and maintain satisfactory degree progress throughout the duration of their undergraduate studies.

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