Faculty members at Merrimack College were recently awarded a million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant will fund academically gifted students from low-income households so they will have the chance to conquer their dreams.
“The project’s research goals are to quantify student grit, resilience, and other factors over the course of the program and will use statistical analysis to probe the interactions between these factors and student success,” the National Science Foundation’s website says.
The research team will be headed by Rickey Caldwell Jr, who is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Merrimack, along with Julia St.Goar, William McDowell, Gwyne White, Russell Olwell, and Brandi Baldock. Caldwell emphasized the teamwork and the collaboration that went into writing the grant proposal, which was an effort spanning three different schools and many offices on Merrimack College’s campus.
“The industry and the world need this untapped talent pool, they may have the ideas and solutions to the most pressing problems of humanity, and this grant will give them a chance to attend Merrimack College and earn a college degree,” Caldwell said.
What can a million dollar grant accomplish? Each entering cohort will consist of six to seven students who will receiving funding to attend Merrimack. They will also become members of a learning community referred to as the MACHS Scholars (Merrimack Achieves Collegiate Holistic Support Scholars). In addition to students receiving financial aid, the MACHS Scholars program also includes peer mentoring, tutoring, mental health support, help in developing executive and life skills, and a sense of belonging and community. Monetary support for memberships in student organizations, professional societies, and conference travel will also be provided for the MACHS Scholars.
This grant and the MACHS Scholars program will help Merrimack recruit even more talented students interested in STEM and then prepare them for careers in different STEM fields.
“We want the talent we’ve never had before to get the ideas that we’ve never had before, and this grant will make that possible,” Caldwell said.
The NSF awards funds are only awarded to 60-80 STEM proposals per year, making them highly competitive.