Parkland College is launching a new program to support low-income students in the natural sciences.
Parkland Science Scholars, funded by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, seeks to empower full-time, low-income science students to work toward graduation and transfer to four-year institutions.
Parkland’s Natural Sciences faculty members recognized that low-income students face specific challenges during their academic journey. These students had lower graduation and transfer rates, according to Dr. C. Britt Carlson, associate professor of chemistry.
"Low-income students often have to juggle school with outside work, which can add stress and make it more difficult to complete a degree," Carlson said. "These students often face additional challenges, such as being the first in their family to attend college and being less familiar with college processes and support services."
Led by three full-time Natural Sciences faculty members, biology instructor Dr. Chelsea Lloyd, associate professor of physics Curtis Shoaf, and Carlson, the program will put structures in place that will support students through graduation.
These structures include financial support; one-on-one faculty, peer, and UIUC graduate student mentoring; summer research experiences; club participation; and a course specifically designed for the scholars.
"Parkland Science Scholars will support students through scholarships opportunities for leadership, mentoring, and summer research," Carlson said. "Students will gain experience related to their future careers, make professional connections, and will form a community of learners that will sustain them beyond their two years at Parkland."
Current funding will support four groups of 10 students each over the five-year grant period. Students will receive tuition support of $2,450 each semester for up to four semesters. After completing the program, students will also receive recognition by the Parkland College Board of Trustees.
"Students who participate in Parkland Science Scholars will graduate with skills, experiences, and connections that will serve as a foundation for success throughout their academic journey and professional careers," Carlson said.
Eligible students must:
be pursuing a degree in science (including, but not limited to physical sciences, engineering sciences, and biological sciences except clinical fields)
be from low-income families as determined by FAFSA
Preference will be given to students who have a GPA of at least 2.5 or have earned at least a 21 on the ACT. To remain in the program, students must stay in good academic standing and attend program-coordinated events and activities.
Applications will be accepted soon. For more information about Parkland Science Scholars, please visit parkland.edu/ParklandScienceScholars or contact Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org.