Southwestern University receives $1.5 million grant to help students pursue STEM fields

The grant will give Southwestern University the ability to fund more programs for S-STEM scholars than the university was previously able to do. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)
The grant will give Southwestern University the ability to fund more programs for S-STEM scholars than the university was previously able to do. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

The grant will give Southwestern University the ability to fund more programs for S-STEM scholars than the university was previously able to do. (Community Impact Newspaper file photo)

Southwestern University is receiving a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to attract and retain students with financial need and people of color pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, careers, the university announced.

The grant will support the university’s S-STEM scholarship program Equipped for Success: Science Identity, Community and Engagement to Promote STEM Student Persistence, according to a Nov. 18 news release. The university will recruit 25 incoming first-year students within the next two years, Emily Neimeyer, professor of chemistry and principal investigator in charge of the program said. The six-year program will recruit 13 students enrolling in fall 2022 and 12 students enrolling in fall 2023, Neimeyer said. The students will receive $7,000 or $10,000 renewable annual scholarships for up to four years, according to the release. Students who qualify for the scholarship program must be eligible for the Pell Grant or the Tuition Equalization Grant, meet certain academic requirements, complete application requirements, and demonstrate an interest in math or science through high school courses.

S-STEM scholars will receive financial assistance to attend the university’s EQUIP summer program before freshman year, conduct undergraduate research, study abroad, work internships and receive mentorship from faculty, Neimeyer said.

“This S-STEM program has changed a lot since our first S-STEM program,” Neimeyer said. “Our last program did not have as much funding to support the scholars in other activities and programming that support success. This grant is not only supporting more students, but we are going to have a more comprehensive structure to support their success.”

The greatest issue prospective college students face is access and affordability, Southwestern University President Laura Skandera Trombley said.


“This grant from the NSF will enable students greater access to a high-quality liberal arts institution,” Trombley said. “It will also attract more students of color into STEM, which has been a priority for Southwestern University.”

About 40% of the university’s student population identifies as people of color, Trombley said. In order to increase access and affordability, the university is applying to become a Hispanic Serving Institution to increase funding that will attract and retain Hispanic students.

“We are interested in all students no matter what,” Trombley said. “As the oldest higher education institution in Texas, we have always been committed to making a university education accessible, so this is nothing new for us. We have been doing this since our founding.”
By Trent Thompson

Reporter, Austin Metro

Trent joined Community Impact Newspaper as an intern in May 2021 after graduating with a degree in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin in December 2020. In July 2021, he was promoted to Austin Metro reporter. He covers several news beats from education and government to dining, transportation, nonprofits, and healthcare. However, his primary beat is business and development. Before working at CI, Trent wrote for The Daily Texan, UT's daily student newspaper, and worked on many projects of his own for his undergraduate program. In his free time Trent writes poetry, spends time with loved ones, and watches Star Wars for the hundredth time, including other new movies.