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$20,000 Scholarships Available to Junior STEM Students, April 1 Deadline

Approximately seven, two-year scholarships in the amount of $20,000 will be awarded to academically talented students majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or math) discipline, thanks to a continuing program at Central Washington University. The deadline for this year’s applications is April 1. Students can apply at www.cwu.edu/solver.

Community college students who wish to transfer to CWU are especially encouraged to apply. Up to 10 students may be found eligible for the award.

Thanks to a $612,840 National Science Foundation grant, the scholarship program, SOLVER (Sustainability for Our Livelihood, Values, Environment, and Resources), can help promising students through the last, most difficult years of their science degree program.

“The scholarships are for $10,000 per year,” said Audrey Huerta, professor of geological sciences, and one of the principal investigators of the grant. “If the student does well in the first year of their award, they are eligible for the second $10,000.”

The overall objective of SOLVER is to increase the quality and diversity of students graduating with bachelor’s degrees in the STEM fields, with an emphasis on recruitment, retention, and graduation of Hispanic and Native American students. The SOLVER program will provide scholars with financial, academic, personal, and professional support.

“Our goal is to substantially increase the success of traditionally underrepresented minorities in these high-demand fields,” said Huerta.

In addition to the $10,000 academic-year scholarship, students are automatically enrolled in the Hearst Summer Fellows program. Instead of leaving campus and working low-wage jobs in the summer before their senior year, students can spend their summer involved in meaningful research. The Hearst Foundations awarded $100,000 to provide summer research fellowships to 20 Solver Scholars at CWU for the next three years.

“This is the missing piece of the puzzle,” said Audrey Huerta. “Almost all of our students have to work during the summer to make money for the school year. It’s impossible for them to take advantage of unpaid research internships that would help further their academic career. This stipend allows them to immerse themselves in science without worrying about financial consequences.”


Fall quarter 2016 will initiate the third year of the SOLVER program, and already, there are success stories from its graduates.

“Our SOLVER students have been sought after for professional positions even before graduation,” Huerta related. “Many others are pursuing advanced degrees in their field.”


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu

March 9, 2016

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