Gannon Awarded $600,000 NSF Grant

Posted: May 30, 2012

Gannon has been awarded a second grant from the National Science Foundation that will allow the University to continue to offer scholarships to students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Gannon was awarded $600,000 through the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM program, the same amount Gannon received from the foundation in 2008, for Gannon’s “Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computer Science” (SEECS) scholarship program. 

Gannon has provided more than 60 scholarships from the 2008 grant and expects to provide more than 20 this year, in the fourth and final year of the grant.

With the new grant, Gannon will begin awarding scholarships in the 2013-14 Academic Year to students in the University’s programs in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, information systems and computer science.

The Gannon faculty who collaborated on the most recent grant proposal hope to annually provide at least 20 scholarships to academically talented students with a demonstrated financial need. Identifying scholarship recipients from underrepresented and minority groups will be a key point of emphasis.

The University will continue to focus on several key objectives in making scholarship awards with the new funds:

  • Develop a network, to include Gannon University, the Erie School District and local Talent Search programs, so as to better identify and recruit students with a demonstrated financial need who are interested in the STEM disciplines. Talent Search is a federal program designed to identify students who would benefit from targeted intervention efforts while helping more students attend college.
  • Provide academic and support services to scholarship recipients as a means of achieving a 90 percent retention rate from year to year. The scholarships are renewable for up to four years provided that recipients maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average.
  • Provide scholarship recipients with academic and professional development opportunities to help them prepare for careers in STEM fields or to continue their education. As part of this objective, scholarship recipients will be required to participate in seminars focused on their personal and professional growth. The seminars will focus on helping students develop academic as well as social, leadership and career skills and will include service-learning.

Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., associate professor, Gannon University mechanical engineering program, will serve as the principal investigator on the new grant. Scott Steinbrink, Ph.D., associate professor, mechanical engineering, served as the principal investigator on the 2008 grant and will serve as one of the co-principal investigators on the new grant.

Gannon faculty Barry Brinkman, Ph.D., assistant professor, computer and information science, and Theresa Vitolo, Ph.D., associate professor, computer and information science, also will serve as co-principal investigators for the new grant.

Support for the grant proposal also was provided by Gannon’s High School Outreach program, Financial Aid and Admissions offices, Student Success Center and academic programs in environmental science and electrical engineering.

The Scholarship Selection Committee will include Patrick Washington, an enrollment advisor and admissions diversity recruiter at Gannon University, Mike Sirak of GE Transportation, Charles Schroeck of Lord Corp., Richard Warnaka of Erie Insurance and Mike Cifelli, coordinator of Gannon’s High School Outreach program.