Kent State’s STEM research center accepted to grant program

Carrie Blazina

Kent State’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students now have a new funding source for scholarships and research grants.

The university’s STEM Research and Education Center, which helps students find outside sources of funding, has joined with the NASA-affiliated Ohio Space Grant Consortium to help find students interested in financial assistance.

“The whole purpose behind the STEM Center is to advance and promote STEM initiatives [at] Kent State,” said Gerald Thompkins, director of the center. “There is a national shortage [of STEM majors] right now, so there is a huge emphasis on getting more high school students to pursue STEM majors once they become undergraduates.”

Kent State’s membership in the grant program means qualified junior and senior STEM majors can get $3,000 and $4,000 in scholarship money, respectively. In addition, master’s-level students can receive $16,000 per year, and doctorate-level students can get $20,000 per year.

“It’s a program designed to not only provide the financial incentive, but to provide the opportunity for STEM students to further their education through these financial incentives,” Thompkins said.

The STEM Center’s current initiatives include recruiting minority students, facilitating STEM research opportunities for faculty and staff and developing new collaborative partnerships with other universities, government agencies and businesses.

Thompkins said the Ohio Space Grant Consortium usually looks for research relating to aerospace and flight, but different majors in the STEM fields can conduct research that benefits NASA, from geology majors studying rock formations to computer science and robotics majors working with probes and rovers that could search other planets.

“It has a wide spectrum in terms of the applications from different fields … every discipline that we have on this campus, there is some application to NASA,” he said.

Overall, Thompkins said the center and its new partnership will help Kent State educate STEM majors for the real world.

“We want to be at the forefront of STEM education for Northeast Ohio,” Thompkins said. “It’s important to this region, it’s important to the state and it’s important to our nation.”

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].