Siena Heights University (SHU) recently received a $1 million grant for the “Improving STEM Education in the Community” project. The grant will provide $1,000,000 for scholarships, equipment, and supplies for advancing education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) over the course of a three-year period. The project plans to address the national needs for well-trained STEM professionals by supporting the education, retention, and graduation of STEM majors at SHU.

“Students love experiential learning, and I’m so thankful for this opportunity to provide more state-of-the-art equipment and workforce development for our STEM majors,” said Jun Tsuji, Ph.D., who served as the primary spearhead for this grant. As the Assistant Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, Dr. Tsuji has committed himself to improving the STEM experience at Siena Heights.

A combined $300,000 of the total grant will be awarded in STEM scholarships, with the amount increasing each year from $50,000 in the first year, $100,000 second year, and $150,000 in the third year. The scholarships will be available for full or part-time students majoring in biology, chemistry, environmental science, environmental engineering, general engineering, mathematics, data analytics, or cybersecurity. In addition, recipients must meet Title IV residency requirements.

The remaining $700,000 will be used in the first year for STEM equipment. The Siena Heights University STEM program plans to buy FANUC robotic arms, Stratasys industrial 3D printers, Universal Laser engraver, 3D scanner, CAD software, demonstration solar arrays and wind turbines, drones, and more.

The grant will assist in producing graduates who are prepared to address local, regional, and national STEM workforce needs. As part of the grant proposal and agreement, Siena Heights has committed to tracking the progress on these goals through data collection on the number of students, student survey responses, retention rates, and graduation rates.

Siena Heights University has been the beneficiary of federal funding for STEM over the past five years. In March of 2018, Siena was awarded a National Science Foundation S-STEM Track 1 grant for nearly $650,000. Building on its previous success, Siena was approved for the National Science Foundation S-STEM Track 2 funding of $1,500,000 in July 2022.

Of the grant, Douglas B. Palmer, Ph.D., President of Siena Heights University, said, “This grant will help us attract and retain the best and brightest STEM students, and will provide them with the resources they need to succeed. Siena Heights is confident that this funding will help us prepare the next generation of STEM leaders, who will leave the workforce more competent, purposeful, and ethical than they found it.”