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National Science Foundation awards Furman $600,000 grant to support scholarships

APRIL 3, 2012
by Erikah Haavie, Media Relations

GREENVILLE, S.C. —The National Science Foundation has awarded Furman University a five-year, $600,000 grant to provide merit-based scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need and who are pursuing degrees in science-based fields.

Beginning this fall, biology and chemistry majors entering Furman will be eligible to receive financial aid awards of up to $40,000 as part of the new scholarship program funded by the Foundation’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.

The Science Opportunities, Activities and Resources (SOAR) Scholars initiative will provide critical support for students for whom the cost of attendance would be a hardship.

Furman’s program aims to enhance science opportunities for students from South Carolina racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in science fields (i.e., African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American and Pacific Islander).  Between 15 and 21 students are expected to benefit from the program over the next five years, with Furman contributing funding for the program in the sixth year.

“The university has historically proved itself to be an exceptional leader among liberal arts colleges in preparing students from underrepresented backgrounds for highly successful professional careers,” said Dr. John Wheeler, director of Furman’s Office of Integrative Research in the Sciences.  “We are delighted to have been selected for this competitive award, Furman’s first under the National Science Foundation S-STEM initiative, and we are immediately engaging in the selection of qualified students for the Class of 2017.”

Dr. John Kaup, Furman’s Coordinator of Science Education, will serve as director of Furman’s SOAR Scholars program, with assistance from Wheeler (principal investigator), Dr. Eli Hestermann, (co-investigator, associate professor of biology), and Dr. Marion Martin, (co-investigator, assistant professor of chemistry).

SOAR Scholars will participate in a host of program activities, including a one-week, pre-college bridge experience offered immediately prior to the freshman year, weekly interdisciplinary seminars, opportunities for science-based community outreach through established programs directed at disadvantaged populations, and guaranteed placement into paid summer research experiences on campus.

Additional supports available to SOAR Scholars include peer mentoring programs, regular meetings with permanently assigned secondary advisors, free on-campus tutoring and the active participation of Furman’s Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Interested applicants should contact Dr. John Kaup at or (864) 294-3773.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

Last updated February 17, 2016
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