New Program Helps Low-income Bio/Chem Students PERSIST in their Studies

New Program Helps Low-income Bio/Chem Students PERSIST in their Studies

The most significant experience that TCNJ provides its biology and chemistry students is the opportunity, as undergraduates, to work side-by-side on research projects with faculty and scientists in the field, said Donald Lovett, professor of biology. Additionally, those students have access to a strong tutoring network, peer-mentoring assistance, and an extensive array of departmental seminars, workshops, and non-classroom experiences to enhance their undergraduate experience, Lovett said.

“Unfortunately, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds often cannot avail themselves of these services and programs because they must seek year-round employment to support their college education,” Lovett added.

chem-pictureIn response, the College has implemented a new program, PERSIST in Biology and Chemistry, aimed at assisting economically disadvantaged students majoring in biology or chemistry. The program is made possible by a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

PERSIST (Program to Enhance Retention of Students in Science Trajectories) in Biology and Science will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 per student per year. The four-year program will also provide enhanced student-support services with the goal of increasing the number of students from underserved groups who will eventually seek careers or graduate-school placement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.

Lovett was the principal investigator on the grant, and will direct the PERSIST program. He will be joined by co-principal investigators Lynn Bradley, associate professor of chemistry; Benny Chan, assistant professor of chemistry; Miriam Segura-Totten, assistant professor of biology; and Jeffrey Osborn, dean of the School of Science, in implementing the program.

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