August 11, 2017

Saint Joseph’s College Establishes Science Scholars Program with National Science Foundation Funding

[Standish, Maine] - President James Dlugos announced that Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has been awarded a five-year $647,000 grant, from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars Program. This is a program designed to encourage academically-talented students, who have demonstrated the need of financial assistance, to enter into and succeed in a community of young scientists. The Saint Joseph’s College Grant Award–from the S-STEM NSF Program–is the only award of this nature in the state this year and the largest of its kind in Maine, to date. The grant, which recognizes the College’s innovative science education programming, provides considerable scholarship aid, ranging from $5,000 to $7,200 per year for each of the recipients’ four years in college. The first group of Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will be selected from first-year students entering in the fall of 2018 who are committed to studying in a range of science fields, including: chemistry, biology, environmental science, biochemistry, and marine science. 
“In today’s rapidly changing world, education in science, technology, engineering, and math has never been more important,” said Senators Susan Collins and Angus King in a joint statement. “This grant will be instrumental in giving students the opportunity to pursue promising STEM careers and become the next generation of trailblazers in their respective fields. Saint Joseph’s College has been a leader in equipping students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century, and we are pleased that these scholarships will provide more motivated, young people with access to this quality education.”

The selected Saint Joseph’s College Science Scholars will benefit from receiving:

Four years of scholarship support at levels ranging from $5,000 to $7,200 each of four years;

One-week field experience prior to the freshman fall;

Use of a laptop for four years;

Science Scholar seminars, conferences, and research experiences;
Support from faculty and upperclassmen mentors.

About the award, President James Dlugos, Ph.D. said, “This National Science Foundation Grant allows us to recruit and graduate some of the best science students from New England and beyond. With these funds, we can offer greater access to higher education in the sciences, offer an innovative approach to science career development, and help meet the growing workforce needs in STEM fields. 
Since the college has built new science laboratories this past year, it’s an opportune time for students to consider studying science at Saint Joseph’s College.”

Dr. Steven Jury, Assistant Professor of Biology and Principal Investigator on the grant said, “We are excited to have the opportunity to recruit excellent science students with diverse backgrounds and have them choose our Science Scholars Program. With our access to Sebago Lake, the Gulf of Maine, the White Mountains, and coastal estuaries, Saint Joseph’s College students not only study science, but will work as a community of scientists in the lab and field. We’re confident that our Science Scholars Program can serve as a model for other programs across the country.”

Dr. Johan Erikson, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences and Co-Principal Investigator
said, “Our students are securing jobs in the science field as soon as they graduate; jobs in water quality science, biomedical chemistry labs, and environmental science fieldwork positions. And yet, we need more students. We have biomedical corporations approach us and ask, ‘How can we increase the pipeline of science students who are available to recruit? We are having trouble filling available positions.’ Nationally, there is a shortage of critical thinkers and problem solvers in the science fields. We are trying to address this by creating a new model for science education at the college level.”

Dr. Marion Young, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Co-Principal Investigator on the grant said, “The Science Scholars Program fosters building a community of scientists, helping science students to become part of a team, part of something even bigger than the College. This project fits well with both Saint Joseph’s College’s core value of engaging community and the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concern for the environment.” As the social scientist on the grant, Dr. Young will research the impact of science students’ participation in the grant-funded program, including their persistence through the four-year college experience and after graduation.

For more information about the scholarship criteria and application process, see or contact the Saint Joseph’s College Admissions Office at 800-338-7057 or

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