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National Science Foundation S-STEM Program

Iona College's  National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM Development of Excellence in Science through Intervention, Resilience, and Enrichment (DESIRE) Program offers scholarships to high school students who are planning to complete a major in biochemistry, chemistry or computer science and who demonstrate academic excellence and financial need.

The NSF awarded Iona this funding with a goal of increasing the number of undergraduates on a successful path to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

The program drives retention and successful degree completion by supporting students across the five dimensions for success in the STEM fields: Academic, Professional Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Intercultural. 

Scholars will shape their success by:

  • Developing critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, as well as their social conscience and ethical viewpoints
  • Gaining exposure to high-impact educational practices that increase student success
  • Accessing numerous resources at Iona dedicated to intervention, resilience and enrichment
  • Choosing tailored core courses
  • Building a strong community through shared learning experiences and with a dedicated science living and learning floor in residential housing
  • Performing research 
  • Participating in experiential and service learning, as well as internships and mentorships.

The Iona S-STEM Scholarship program is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF-SSTEM Award No. 1643737. 

DESIRE Program Details

Through the NSF S-STEM Iona DESIRE program, Iona College is offering scholarships to high school students who are planning to complete a major in biochemistry, chemistry or computer science. High school students demonstrating financial need under the Federal Pell Grant program and admitted to Iona are eligible for support in the amount of $6,000 per academic year. The DESIRE Scholarship is in addition to other merit-based and need-based Iona funds, for which the recipients may be eligible. Recipients will also be eligible for special mentoring programs and paid summer research programs ($2,500 each summer for post-freshman and post-sophomore year).

Meet Recent Recipients

Students applying for Iona DESIRE Scholars must:

  • Be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, nationals or refugees
  • Be enrolled full-time in the Chemistry or Computer Science program
  • Demonstrate scholarly promise with a minimum high school math and science grade point average of 88 (B+) and minimum combined SAT score of 1200 (Math/ERWS) or ACT score of 25
  • Submit an essay demonstrating their desire to study chemistry or computer science, and pursue a career in a STEM field
  • Demonstrate academic potential as evidenced in one or more letters of recommendation from a teacher who should describe your academic potential in chemistry or computer science and any personal qualities that contribute to your academic success
  • Demonstrate financial need and establish Federal Pell Grant eligibility as determined by the Office of Student Financial Services at Iona College
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the stated deadline.

All Iona DESIRE Scholars Program applicants must first complete Iona College’s standard admissions process and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually by the stated deadline.

DESIRE Program required application materials must be submitted separately from the Iona College general admission requirements:

  • NSF Iona DESIRE Scholars Essay: Write an essay (750-1,000 words) that describes your desire to study biochemistry, chemistry or computer science, and pursue a career in a STEM field.
  • Letter of Recommendation: Written by a teacher who should describe your academic potential in biochemistry, chemistry or computer science and any personal qualities that contribute to your academic success.

Iona DESIRE Scholars application material must be completed by April 1.

Please submit all NSF Iona DESIRE Scholars application materials to Raymond Garo at rgaro@iona.edu with "NSF Iona DESIRE Scholars Program Materials" in the subject line. 

Scholarships of continuing Iona DESIRE scholars will be eligible for renewal each year provided that the scholars:

  • Maintain financial eligibility and full-time student status in biochemistry, chemistry or computer science
  • Have a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0
  • Participate in DESIRE Scholar cohort activities
  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually by the stated deadline

The determination of continuing eligibility will be made each year at the conclusion of the spring semester. Awards will be made beginning in the fall semester each year. 

Principal Investigator (PI) and Contact Person

  • Sunghee Lee, Ph.D., Chemistry slee@iona.edu

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Lubomir Ivanov, Ph.D., Computer Science
  • Kathleen Kristian, Ph.D., Chemistry
  • Smiljana Petrovic, Ph.D., Computer Science
  • Mychel Varner, Ph.D., Chemistry

Senior Personnel

  • Katherine Zaromatidis, Ph.D., Psychology
  • Jason Diffenderfer, Institutional Effectiveness and Planning
  • Bernadette Wright, Ph.D., External Evaluator, Meaningful Evidence, LLC, Washington, D.C.

Contact

NSF and DESIRE Programs at Iona


Raymond Garo
Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions, Liaison for DESIRE Program
Phone: (914) 633-2064
Email: rgaro@iona.edu

Sunghee Lee, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees Endowed Professor
Email: slee@iona.edu