NSF STEM Scholarship
STEM Scholars program for transfer students
Cornell College has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF) with a competitive STEM scholars program for transfer students with awards up to $10,000/year. If you are pursuing a course of study in one (or more) of our STEM majors (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; Biology; Chemistry; Geology; Physics; Computer Science; Engineering, B.S.E.; and/or Mathematics & Statistics) and meet both the academic and financial need requirements, you will be eligible to compete for this program. The NSF STEM scholarship is awarded in addition to your merit scholarship or other scholarships.
For the fall of 2018 we will award four grants to transfer students, so it is important to let us know early if you want to compete for these awards.
STEM grant eligibility requirements
To be considered for the STEM scholars program you will need to meet the following requirements as a transfer student:
- Complete your application and be admitted to Cornell College
- Complete the FAFSA and confirm you qualify for Pell Grant assistance
- Verify a minimum college GPA of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale with an official transcript
- Mathematic scores and high school mathematics curriculum with focus upon enrollment in challenging advanced placement courses.
- Demonstrate completion of the necessary pre-requisite college courses to allow you to graduate with a STEM degree within three years from Cornell
Once you complete your Cornell College application and FAFSA, you will have completed the first steps in helping us determine if you qualify for the STEM Scholars program. Once qualified, you will need to submit a few more materials for Cornell faculty to review against your peers to determine if you will be awarded the scholarship. We will add the following requirements to your admitted student checklist so that you can submit your materials:
- Write a 250-500 word essay describing your involvement in STEM activities, any roadblocks you’ve experienced in accessing STEM activities, and how you see yourself pursuing STEM in college and your future career. (If you don’t know exactly what career you’re interested in, that’s ok. Tell us what you’re passionate about and you can figure that out later.)
- Submit two (2) letters of recommendation from science and/or mathematics teachers or professors.
Once your materials have been submitted and reviewed, the selection committee will contact you to conduct an interview to learn more about you and your goals in pursuing the STEM field. The committee will make award decisions based on your materials and the interview.
STEM Scholars Renewal
Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to retain the scholarship. Cornell students declare an academic major(s) during the spring of their sophomore year. Any scholar who does not declare one of our STEM majors (listed above) at that time would lose the scholarship and it would subsequently be awarded to an alternate candidate.
Expectations and opportunities for program students The STEM Scholars program is more than a financial award, as a recipient of the award you will also be part of a mentoring program that will support you through your college career in STEM.
Second-Year students (sophomore status)
At the start of the academic year, you will attend a STEM scholar gathering that will help you prepare for the year ahead. You will continue to meet with your faculty mentor monthly to talk about academics and potentially declared majors, taking advantage of college resources, and securing summer research projects or internships. Your mentor will also help you start to think about graduate school and career planning.
You will have the opportunity to start gaining experience in your field through a work study position in your field of interest. Potential work study assignments include maintenance of zebrafish and cell cultures, assisting with NMR cryogen fills and other instrument maintenance, setting up physics lab equipment, preparing geological samples, or working with a faculty member on a research project.
You will be able to participate in off-campus visits to local or regional scientific meetings, competitions, field experiences, graduate programs, scientific facilities or industry locations during Block breaks to learn more about STEM opportunities.
Third- and fourth-year students (junior and senior status)
In your third and fourth years, you will have the option to participate in STIC, if desired. You will also be paired with an alumni mentor who will be able to share their perspectives on applying STEM in a career or graduate study path. This person will be available to you to answer the tough questions of “what is it really like to work in a lab all day?” They'll also be able to give you tips on how they secured the internships and interviews that helped them propel their careers in STEM. You will continue to meet monthly with your faculty mentor—your discussions will focus even more closely on internships and post-graduation preparedness, and you will be expected to actively engage in preparation resources available through Cornell’s Berry Career Institute.
During these years you will have expanded opportunities to gain experience in your field through ongoing work study positions and traveling to off-campus experiences through your coursework or during Block break trips. You will also be encouraged and supported in pursuing at least one local or regional research experience or industry internship. (No need to limit yourself to one, of course!)
What do you do next? If you haven’t completed your Cornell application yet, start that as soon as possible. If you have completed your application, great—we just need you to contact your counselor to get started. Good luck!