PAC wins prestigious National Science Foundation grant

By Ryan Ojeda
Pulse Staff Reporter

The 2016 USA Science and Engineering Festival. Photo courtesy the National Science Foundation.
The 2016 USA Science and Engineering Festival. Photo courtesy the National Science Foundation.

Prestige, pride and inspiration will be the sensations of the students who acquire the National Science Foundation grant that Palo Alto College obtained called the S-STEM.

The S-STEM, otherwise known as the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, is a $650,000 program provided by the NSF that aids students who major in Biology and Bioscience and have a passion for these fields.

“The grant runs over a five-year period, beginning Sept. 1, 2017, and Palo Alto College will provide financial scholarships for experiential STEM research opportunities for 39 students,” said Elizabeth A. Tanner, vice president of Academic Success.

Receiving this grant will greatly help students who have a financial need. However, the students must be academically responsible and be a U.S. citizen. The S-STEM program recruitment begins in Spring 2018 for Fall 2018.

“Thirteen students are anticipated to participate in the S-STEM program at PAC in Fall 2018,” said Tanner.

This opportunity for PAC students not only makes the college stand out, but it also brightens the future for the City of San Antonio by empowering students to solve future problems with knowledge and skills provided by the college.

“This is truly amazing for Palo Alto College and its community,” said Stephanie Vasquez, director of College Grant Development.

PAC’s faculty and staff worked actively with the Science Foundation of Arizona to ensure the grant’s success. The team had a written proposal to give facts on why PAC should receive the support.

The Science Foundation of Arizona focuses on a strong economy, a strong educational system and quality jobs for students in America. They aided PAC with the written proposal.

“Awards are highly competitive. We have proposals from tons of colleges in the nation,” said Ron Buckmire, the lead program director of S-STEM at the NSF.

Congress founded the NSF in 1950 to advance science education and to improve the nation’s defense, safety and health. The foundation has an annual budget of $7.5 billion.

NSF tracks a great amount of data pertaining to the S-STEM program. The data dates back as far as Pre-K and as far ahead as the graduation of students heading into the workforce.

Becoming one of the students to achieve the scholarship is a rare accomplishment. It opens a door to students who are chasing the dream of finishing college and in are need of financial support.