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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Engineering Technology gets $600,000 for scholarships

Months of preparation culminated this week as Pittsburg State University was awarded nearly $600,000 for scholarships within its College of Technology programs.

A STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grant was awarded by the National Science Foundation to PSU earlier this week. The money, which will be disbursed over the next five years, is earmarked for the Department of Engineering Technology within the College of Technology.

The grant is designed for students who have a strong financial need while showing potential for a career in engineering. A committee will be formed to recruit students, and will continue to work with them throughout their four years of schooling to ensure their success. The $598,000 grant will provide four-year scholarships to at least 13 students.

“This isn’t a scenario where we give them the money and then hope they survive,” said Jim Otter, chairman of the Department of Engineering Technology. “We will be developing an infrastructure to give them the support they need.”

Otter said a handful of faculty members had been working to obtain the grant with the help of the College of Continuing and Graduate Studies. Mark Jones and Randy Winzer, professors in the department, along with the help of Brian Perry, PSU grants coordinator, made the case in their proposal that because Southeast Kansas has a high poverty level, many potential students end up pursuing little or no college because they simply can’t afford it. The grant reviewers at the National Science Foundation were very receptive to the university’s goal of reaching that demographic, said Otter.

“We have a working class kind of student,” he said. “Many of them are working at least 20, maybe 40 hours per week. There are many who can’t afford a four-year education and instead choose a one- or two-year program and then throw themselves into the workforce, maybe coming back to get more education later. This gives them a chance to get it now.”

Graduates often go on to have careers in mechanical engineering, design or process engineering, or quality control.

“We’re very excited,” Otter said. “Now we can reach out to students who hadn’t identified PSU as an option.”

For more information, contact the Department of Engineering Technology at 620-235-4350.

---Pitt State---