National Science Foundation supports scholarships at Pellissippi State

The National Science Foundation has awarded Pellissippi State Community College grant funding to support a scholarship program for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The $649,737 NSF grant will fund scholarships and support programs for students studying STEM fields at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus. The program, Supporting College and Career Education for Student Scholarships in STEM, will provide scholarships of up to $8,500 per year to at least 24 non-traditional students with financial need. Eligible students can study transfer or career programs at Pellissippi State — the Geosciences, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics transfer programs or the Automated Industrial Systems concentration within the Engineering Technology career program.

“There will be support for students in the form of mentoring and tutoring,” said Chris Milne, professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences and grant lead. “The students these scholarships will help will be those who aren’t already eligible for other financial aid like Tennessee Promise or HOPE.”

The SuCCESS in STEM program involves a unique “reciprocating scholarship” system in which a student who applies for the program must pay for the first semester of school with their own funds. However, students who meet the GPA requirements for the program in that first semester will not only earn the scholarship for their remaining semesters, they will be reimbursed for their initial semester of school.

“Reciprocating scholarships offer students an incentive to succeed and to start on the right track,” Milne said.

The scholarship will pay more than the average cost of tuition at Pellissippi State, which will allow students who earn it to cover the costs of books, fees and transportation costs.

The scholarship program could be in place by fall 2017; students could begin applying to participate as early as spring 2017.

The grant also will fund support services for students enrolled in the program to encourage them to graduate and, if applicable, transfer to a four-year university. The SuCCESS in STEM program will offer students the ability to learn real-world skills through internships, mentoring and job shadowing with community partners.

Funding for this grant goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528.