STEM grant provides nearly $600K to Bona

July 22, 2014 Updated Jul 22, 2014 at 9:02 AM EDT

By Dan Miner, Reporter- Business First

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STEM grant provides nearly $600K to Bona

July 22, 2014 Updated Jul 22, 2014 at 9:02 AM EDT

St. Bonaventure University has won a federal grant that will help it recruit talented students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

The five-year, $594,287 grant from the National Science Foundation will provide need-based aid to those who might not otherwise be able to attend St. Bonaventure, a private Catholic college near Olean.

Bona's program, titled "Discovery Within Community," aims to bring 25 academically talented students with financial need for the fall 2015 freshman class, with concurrent moves to improve academic performance in its STEM programs and increase student retention rates.

The students will be housed together, take several core-area courses together and take a special STEM course that explores the multidisciplinary character of 21st century scientific discovery.

The grant proposal cited research that a cohort model and sharing classes and a residence hall improve the educational experience, said Peter Schneible, assistant professor of biology. Schneible will be the program's principal investigator and oversee its administration.

"St. Bonaventure has always taken seriously its role as a mentoring community so this program is a perfect fit for us," Schneible said.

Most of the money will be dedicated to financial aid, but a small amount will be allotted to cover conference travel of the student fellows, stipends for the program coordinators and payments for STEM tutors through Bona's Teaching and Learning Center.

The program's ultimate objective is to ensure that at least 90 percent of students who graduate in four years will secure employment with a STEM employer or enter a STEM graduate program.

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