Hartwick Accepting Applicants for Biotechnology in Practice Scholarship Program

November 30, 2010

In late 2009, Hartwick College was awarded a $552,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for support of a Biotechnology in Practice Scholarship Program. The four-year Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-STEM) awards provide individual scholarships of up to $10,000 each to 12 incoming students in biology or biochemistry in each of their four years at Hartwick.

Last spring, six students from the Class of 2014 were chosen to receive the scholarships. A second group of six from the Class of 2015 will be chosen to begin receiving the scholarships in fall 2011. Scholarship recipients must be full-time Hartwick students in the biotechnology field who can demonstrate strong academic potential and who have financial need. The deadline to apply is February 1.

"Our last application round was very successful, with about 60 well-qualified applicants representing more than 50 high schools from seven states, including as far away as Florida, South Carolina, and California," said Professor of Biology Stanley K. Sessions. "Out of these 60 we chose six awardees, all truly excellent students, and all interested in pursuing graduate degrees and careers in biotechnology (research, teaching, industry, etc.). This highly competitive scholarship program, representing a cooperative venture by the National Science Foundation and Hartwick College and spanning five years, allows us to do our part in helping our country remain a global leader in all aspects of biotechnology, from alternative energies and food production to genetic engineering, molecular biology, and cancer research."

Under the guidance of Sessions, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Andrew Piefer, Professor of Biology Douglas Hamilton, Professor of Biology Laura Malloy, and Professor of Computer & Information Sciences and Physics Robert Gann, students will receive financial support for their work in areas that represent the future of biotechnology--from molecular biology and biochemistry to the study of regeneration and bioengineering to neural networks.

"Dr. Sessions and his colleagues have fostered a culture of support for collaborative and experiential education that has encouraged generations of students to pursue further work in the fields that are a perfect fit for the S-STEM initiative," Hartwick President Dr. Margaret L. Drugovich said. "I am delighted that even more students will now have access to this impactful program at Hartwick."

Qualifying students will be chosen based on financial need and an interest in biotechnology careers. The program is designed to enhance Hartwick's biotechnology program by improving existing student support services and developing new opportunities for mentoring, internships, research, and career exploration. The grant also provides funding for program administration and student support services, including field trips, lectures, internships, and summer research.

In applying for the grant from the National Science Foundation that funds the scholarships, Hartwick noted its tradition of students' active involvement in undergraduate research, publications, and professional conferences. Student/faculty collaboration on book chapters, articles, and research also was recognized, including Sessions' ongoing work with students on the causes of deformities in amphibians. That research has involved collaboration with seven Hartwick students and has received national and international attention. Other faculty/student projects in Hartwick's sciences departments include cancer cell research, virology, molecular genetics, microbiology, environmental toxicology, and genetic engineering.

"The best way to learn anything, from playing the violin to microsurgery, is by trying to actually do it," Sessions said. "This NSF grant emphasizes the importance of experiential education: learning by doing with the guidance and collaboration of expert mentors. Hartwick already emphasizes this in all kinds of ways, from internships and summer research to off-campus programs and support for students to attend conferences. This is a natural fit for us. In addition to scholarships, the grant provides funding to enhance these opportunities, specifically for students in the biotechnology scholarship program."

The National Science Foundation's S-STEM grants are designed to support scholarships for academically talented students with financial need, enabling them to enter the workforce or graduate school in the science and engineering fields. The goal is to prepare more students in the STEM disciplines for graduate school and science careers. The NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals annually, requesting support for research, education, and training projects. About one-quarter of those proposals are funded each year.

Visit the S-STEM Web page for more information on the program, or to apply.

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Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes a uniquely experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a unique January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Christopher Lott
Phone: 607-431-4030