NASA has awarded Agnes Scott College a $744,191 grant to continue its work in increasing the number of women STEM graduates and supporting them in finding homes in science-centered careers. Agnes Scott is one of seven women’s colleges to be awarded money as a part of $5 million in grant funding to develop strategies to retain women in STEM programs and career pursuits.
“Agnes Scott’s commitment to professional success development, as well as our existing STEM programming, such as our summer STEM Scholar Program and our Resource Center for Math and Science, put us in a great position for receiving this award,” said Srebrenka Robic, Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology and faculty director of the Science Center for Women, who served as a principal investigator for this grant.
Robic was part of a team of six faculty members from Agnes Scott to write the proposal to the NASA program–which falls under the Minority University Research and Education Project–in short order. Finding out about it in late February, the group had only six weeks to put their best proposal forward.
An essential aspect of Agnes Scott’s funding proposal request was leaning into its established alum base in STEM fields.
“We received an amazing level of support from our alums, who wrote numerous letters of support, in which they shared stories of success and struggles of being women in STEM careers,” stated Robic. “They all expressed interest in collaborating with the College for future mentoring and networking opportunities for our students, which I believe set us apart in the process.”
Agnes Scott plans on using the grant funding to accomplish three goals: increase the number of women in STEM fields, increase professional development opportunities and research strategies to empower women to remain in the STEM workforce.
Networking and mentoring will be the pillars of Agnes Scott’s scaffolded programming over the next three years. For an institution as diverse as Agnes Scott, the nearly one-in-four students who graduate with a degree in a STEM program field of study, building that framework hopes to provide fruitful results in retention.
The funding from NASA will be distributed over three years.
Other women’s colleges selected for funding include:
- Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wis.
- Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pa.
- College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb.
- Salem Academy and College in Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Simmons University in Boston, Mass.
- Smith College in Northampton, Mass.
“I am looking forward to collaborating with our student and alumni bases to answer some critical questions about the barriers women still face in STEM,” Robic said. “I hope we can share our findings nationally and positively impact future experiences of women entering the workforce.”