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NSF Awards Grant to Iona of Nearly $650,000

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Iona College a grant of $649,631 in support of scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in chemistry and computer science. The grant is part of the NSF's S-STEM Program to increase the number of college students pursuing education and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.
With the award, Iona is creating a program called DESIRE — Development of Excellence in Science through Intervention, Resilience, and Enrichment. The College will be able to support students with financial need and high academic aptitude with scholarships to major in chemistry and computer science.
The objectives of the program are to recruit new academically talented students with significant demonstrated financial need; and develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills of STEM students as well as their social conscience and ethical viewpoints, in order to support and integrate five dimensions for success in STEM fields: academic, professional, interpersonal, intrapersonal and intercultural. The program also aims to support retention in STEM, degree completion, and the professional success of Iona DESIRE Scholars.
"I am very excited that this award will allow us to recruit, support and retain academically capable but financially needy students,” said Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., Iona College Board of Trustees endowed professor and chair of Chemistry. “All scholars will be supported through cohort activities carefully designed to support students' quality experience in the interdisciplinary fields of chemistry and computer science. We hope our program will provide an exemplary model that can be adapted to many other higher education disciplines and demonstrate successful STEM graduates.”
In addition to Dr. Lee, the award was obtained by co-principal investigators Kathleen Kristian, Ph.D., assistant professor of Inorganic Chemistry; Lubomir Ivanov Ph.D., professor of Computer Science; Smiljana Petrovic, Ph.D., professor of Computer Science; and Mychel Varner, Ph.D., assistant professor of Chemistry, along with senior project team personnel Katherine Zaromatidis, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology; Thomas J. Van Cleave, Ed.D., director of Service and Experiential Learning; Jason Diffenderfer, director of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning; and Bernadette Wright, Ph.D., external evaluator, Meaningful Evidence, LLC.
"The S-STEM grant represents an outstanding opportunity for select motivated students to achieve academic, professional and personal success at Iona by working in close collaboration with faculty from the Computer Science and Chemistry departments,” Dr. Ivanov said. “The students will engage in cutting-edge research on faculty-led interdisciplinary projects, which have the potential to further scientific knowledge and to benefit people everywhere. For the S-STEM faculty, the grant presents an excellent opportunity to work with bright students and to be able to influence their academic and professional careers."
The Iona S-STEM Scholarship program is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-SSTEM Award No. 1643737. See more about the new program.
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a private coeducational institution 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan with a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of 40,000-plus around the world. The College is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona College is the second largest private sector employer in New Rochelle.