Mills Awarded Scholarship Grant from National Science Foundation

Oakland, CA–April 08, 2016

The National Science Foundation has awarded Mills College a $600,000 grant to support underserved and academically talented students pursuing degrees and leadership roles in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The Student Understanding and Realizing Potential for Attaining Scientific Success (SURPASS) scholarships will support two groups of students for four years each: six students in the fall of 2016 and another eight students beginning the following year.

The program will be the centerpiece of a broader effort by Mills to empower and support low-income students in STEM disciplines so that more women enter and become leaders in these fields.  This project, entitled "Preparing and diversifying STEM leaders in a first-year to graduation transition program.," is under the direction of Helen Walter, Jared J. Young, Sabrina Zirkel, Chinyere Oparah. The award starts July 1 , 2016 and ends June 30, 2021.

“The number of women studying in STEM programs is rising at Mills and on a national level, and Mills is well positioned to meet the demand and graduate more women into a broader variety of leadership positions,” said Mills Interim Provost Sharon Washington. “We are proud to receive the grant, and eager to create a program that will prepare women for careers in STEM that other institutions of higher education will be able to replicate.”

The grant aims to improve student support systems through a rigorous summer transition program where students will learn how to manage study time, take science courses, be introduced to learning resources on campus, and prepare for lectures and laboratories in the fall. In addition, the students will live among others on campus who share the same interest in science in order to further reinforce participation in their choice of study.

Throughout the four year scholarship period, recipients will be paired with a science faculty mentor who they meet with three times each semester. They will also attend periodic workshops, have summer internships or research opportunities, attend periodic women-in-science lectures, participate in career conversations with mentors, and have opportunities to attend professional conferences.