FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont State University received a $749,693 grant to support 18 students while they get their degree in STEM. 

The grant was provided by the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program (S-STEM). 

The funding will support the university’s project “Bridging the STEM Gap in Appalachia” to engage with low-income students who are academically talented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

“While our state is filled with academic talent, many of those young students simply don’t have access to the kinds of opportunities that will allow them to develop as STEM scholars and pursue STEM careers,” said Mirta Martin, president of Fairmont State University. “The S-STEM program – a program that goes beyond scholarships and includes mentorship, student success initiatives, unique learning experiences and career guidance – will go a long way toward filling the opportunity gap for West Virginia students interested in STEM fields.”  

The scholarship will be offered to students majoring in B.S. degrees in Computer Science (also a cybersecurity concentration), Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Forensic Science, Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology, Occupational Safety and Surveying and Geomatics Engineering Technology. 

“Industry has the finger on the pulse,” said Martin. “They know what’s coming down the road. Because of our connections, because of our friendship, because of our interactions, because of our partnerships, because of the work of the many, many, many advisory board members that are leading each of our colleges, Fairmont State is able to understand and appreciate what’s coming down the road.”

“We hope our program will change the course of our students’ lives and help us improve our STEM teaching and advising, and I think we have developed a program that can do that,” said Dr. Robert Niichel, Associate Professor of Mathematics, leader of the program at Fairmont State University.  

Dr. Niichel will be assisted by Dr. Jojo Joseph, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Ms. Abby Chapman, Assistant Professor of Occupational Safety through the six years the program will run.  

In addition to receiving scholarships, the students will also participate in special programming in and out of the classroom, including partnerships with local and regional industries for unique opportunities.