Scholarships available to low-income STEM majors

Bruno Lopez-Vega, Staff Reporter

College of  the Desert students pursuing STEM majors can take advantage of the S-STEM scholarship to help them in their pursuit of higher education. The scholarship is funded by the National Science Foundation and offered by COD in collaboration with Cal State San Bernardino, and awards up to $8,000 for eligible students.

For students to be considered eligible they must have a GPA of at least 2.75 in math and science courses and at least 2.5 overall, full-time enrollment, enrollment or completion of pre-calculus or above, and an educational plan that indicates the recipient will transfer by Fall 2021 or 2022.  Students must also qualify for financial aid and be either a U.S citizen, refugee or permanent resident.

Students two years from transfer can earn up to $5,000, and students one year from transfer can earn up to $6,000.

Additionally, students transferring to CSUSB for certain majors are automatically eligible for up to $8,000. Students are also given access to a variety of resources including mentors and workshops.

According to the NSF’s website, the goal of these scholarships is to help academically talented, low-income STEM students obtain their degrees and succeed in obtaining careers. S-STEM eligible disciplines include biological sciences (other than clinical), physical sciences, computer sciences, informational sciences, mathematics, engineering, geosciences and technological fields pertaining to these sciences.

COD students Mayra Alacaraz Lopez and Bronwyn Horton are two of several students that have received this scholarship and enjoyed its benefits.

“It has relieved a financial burden from my shoulders and allowed me to focus on my studies,” Alacaraz Lopez said, “Along with the award, I was assigned a mentor who supports and helps me through my difficult academic journey. It’s reassuring that I can rely on my mentor to be there for me.”

Horton also felt that this scholarship helped alleviate a lot of pressure. “This scholarship allowed me to drastically reduce my work hours and devote more time to studying and has afforded me more opportunities to give back to the campus community too.”

Horton, who is the president of the Chem Club and volunteers in campus events such as Math Field Day, continued, “I was also able to take enough time off to take on a winter internship; before I would have had to work all winter and pass that experience by.

Students can fill out an application for this scholarship available at the MESA Center in MSTC room 146 and online.

It must be submitted to the MESA Center along with several pieces of supporting information listed on the application. Two letters of recommendation from recent mathematics and science professors, a 300-word essay, a copy of your Student Education Plan and a copy of your transcript. All of these materials must be submitted by April 3, 2020.