Presented By Atomic Speedway
(ATHENS) – Ohio University has been awarded a Choose Ohio First (COF) grant by the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to support students in critical STEM fields.
The $1,068,522 grant over five years is to recruit and support each cohort during its educational journey. The grant supports students in science, including health professions, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grant was approved by the State Controlling Board today.
“We are honored to receive a Choose Ohio First grant and be a part of an initiative that exemplifies our commitment to student success, access to education and the importance of preparing students to meet the emerging workforce needs in the state of Ohio,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “This initiative aligns with our focus on being Fearlessly First and providing support to STEM students, as well as the faculty working to address the workforce needs for their students. We are extremely grateful for Chancellor Gardner’s leadership in helping students achieve their educational goals in these areas.”
OHIO will use the funding to provide STEM scholarships, which will help improve Ohio’s workforce development capacity to innovate and grow the state economy. One hundred percent of the funding from the grant goes toward scholarships for students in the selected majors. The grant also requires a one-to-one match, meaning OHIO will match the ODHE scholarship amount with other, internal scholarships for each student.
The 10 programs that are part of OHIO’s Choose Ohio First Scholars program include the Biological Sciences Pre-professional (pre-health) program and nine engineering and technology programs in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology united in advanced manufacturing. It’s anticipated that 145 students in total will benefit from the enhanced levels of student support to reach their degrees.
In addition to the benefit to participating students, OHIO’s Choose Ohio First program will promote faculty and industry partners to collaborate to address high-demand workforce needs in advanced manufacturing and healthcare. Professional advisors, internship and career specialists, and student academic support specialists are embedded within the Russ College and the Department of Biology to ensure that each COF Scholar has a robust support network to help them succeed academically at OHIO and beyond. This advising model is especially important to first-generation and underrepresented students, who are encouraged to apply for the program.
The students selected for the Choose Ohio First Scholars program will be provided with access to curriculum, expert faculty, dedicated student support professionals, financial support and offered opportunities for internships, co-ops, and other research experiences.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to bring together students from majors across the Russ College for coordinated class and research activities,” Dale Masel, professor of industrial and systems engineering, said. “Today’s highly-automated manufacturing plants are designed and operated by many different types of engineers working collaboratively, so the Choose Ohio First program will be a great way for students to collaborate with others outside their discipline.”
Masel said the state of Ohio has the third-largest manufacturing workforce in the U.S., so when the Russ College’s COF Scholars graduate, they will have the skills needed to support Ohio’s economy. Through teaching topics related to Industry 4.0, or the methods needed to maintain competitiveness in the manufacturing industry, Choose Ohio First engineering scholars will learn interdisciplinary collaboration among the nine programs in engineering, preparing them to excel in the workforce.
Similarly, Choose Ohio First scholars in biological sciences will gain valuable laboratory experience that has applications in medicine, the environment, and other related fields. They will also have equal opportunity to seek additional internships with partners outside of the department and the University should they choose to do so.