Campus Community / Science / Technology and Health

National Science Foundation awards $1.5 million to Seattle University to increase STEM access for low-income students

October 5, 2022

$1.5 million NSF STEM access grant

Contact Information:

Lincoln Vander Veen


The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to help fund a new program to bolster access to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for low-income students. The funding will support a new program in the works at Seattle University’s College of Science and Engineering and expand opportunities for career development.

The $1.5 million NSF S-STEM Award will help build the Seattle University Math and Science Scholars (SUMSS), a STEM scholarship and support infrastructure for students who traditionally experience academic hardship and attrition due in part to the significant financial burden of higher education at a private university. The SUMSS program aims to improve recruitment, retention, graduation rate and career placement for these students.

“This NSF S-STEM Award to support and mentor our students via research, professional formation and discernment will have a great impact to support student recruitment and success in the College of Science and Engineering. This project and its goals are highly aligned with our mission and is a recognition of the efforts of the teams involved to deliver on our institutional values,” says Dean Amit Shukla, PhD.

“This also is a recognition of the need to support and diversify graduates in STEM areas, which is a priority for the CSE and SU. I commend the team for developing this successful proposal and know that their work will be a model for others to follow in supporting student success in STEM.”

Beginning in 2023 and continuing each fall through 2026, a cohort will be selected, comprised of eight incoming freshmen from the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, as well as Pre-Science. Each student will receive a scholarship of $10,000 per year for four years. In year two, students will participate in an interdisciplinary research course, which will teach them how to apply data science techniques to analyze data from biology and chemistry studies and how to effectively communicate the results of their research.

Professional development is a key piece of this program, says the college’s Director and Assistant Dean of Student Academic Affairs Jennifer Coogan, MA, MEd, who is a co-principal investigator. 

“The benefit to SUMSS Scholars is a coordinated effort across the college and university to support an academically talented low-income student through graduation and not only be but feel career-ready in their field,” Coogan explains. 

Read more about the NSF grant and the SUMSS Scholars program in the SU Newsroom.