SCC Press Release


SCC Nets Over 550K for Science & Technology Scholarships

Southeastern Community College was recently awarded a 558,000 dollar grant from the National Science Foundation, or NSF, to be used to fund student scholarships over the next five years.

The grant will fund SCC's proposed Success in STEM program which is designed to cover expenses of qualifying students who pursue specific degrees in disciplines heavy in science, technology, engineering or math.

Jan Wolbers, SCC Director of Institutional Grants and Accreditation, says there is always stiff competition for NSF funding dollars and many colleges apply three times or more before they are awarded funding. SCC earned funding on its first try.

“We wanted to do it right and so we spent two years putting the plan together. We had a good team in place and, more importantly, we made a compelling case that this would be a way to ensure student success in science- and technology-related fields,” explains Wolbers.

Wolbers credits part of the grant application’s success to the leadership of Dr. Chris Sedlack, SCC Physics instructor. Sedlack took on the role of Principal Investigator, serving as the lead faculty member who oversees the administration of grant monies and monitors student progress.

“We assembled a really good team of faculty and staff to flesh out the details of our proposal as part of the grant application. I just made sure we stayed on track. It really was a group effort,” says Sedlack.

Sedlack explains that successful grants require considerable research, planning, and attention to detail. “Some people think that all you have to do is apply and wait to hear back. That’s not how it works. There’s a lot of work that goes into them.”

Sedlack and Wolbers explain that one key component of Success in STEM is a requirement for students to take a class that gives them tools to succeed in school and beyond. Each semester students will learn study skills, go on colleges and industry visits, and learn job search skills.

“It’s well documented that students who study in a cohort group fare better than those who go it alone. By keeping them together over the course of two years, they will develop a kind of support structure, sort of like a team.”

Sedlack says that the program will be ready for roll-out for the fall semester. “We’re targeting 10 students this first year, and then 13 for the next two years.”

The scholarship will cover all college expenses for eligible full-time students who enter the following programs: Electronics Technology, Drafting Technology, Precision Machining, and Pre-Engineering. It is renewable for two years. Qualifying students must demonstrate a combination of financial need and academic achievement.

For more information about S-STEM, contact Dr. Chris Sedlack at 319-208-5259 or csedlack@scciowa.edu.

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