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IU Northwest’s NSF-AIMS Scholars kick off college with water research

New students show passion for STEM fields with first presentations

Thursday Sep 07, 2017

Indiana University Northwest recently welcomed its newest group of scholars just embarking on their educational journeys in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Thanks to a National Science Foundation grant, 13 students are named NSF-AIMS Scholars for the 2017-18 academic year from the Advancing Indiana Math and Science (AIMS) initiative. The scholarships provide up to $10,000 per year to academically talented undergraduate students with financial need pursuing degrees in actuarial science, biology, chemistry, computer information systems, geology, informatics, and mathematics at IU Northwest.

NSF-AIMS Scholars for 2017-18 include: John Banaag, Jeff Dykstra, Abdul Enayeh, Neal Govani, Haroon Mohiuddin, Nick Olchawa, Samantha Ostrom, Gabriella Richey, Sabrina Rizo, Kyla Roney, Steffan Santiago, Rasha Siddiqui, and Karl Wehner.

IU Northwest combined its STEM Summer Bridge Program for incoming freshmen with the activities of the NSF-AIMS Scholars, including student presentations, and a field trip to the Indiana Dunes. Student projects in both programs focused on water quality in our region.

In addition to the NSF-AIMS Scholars, presenters from the incoming freshmen STEM Summer Bridge Program included: Tristen Allen, Joshua Drosos, Shelley Gurevitz, Sean Lopez and Josh Marciniak.

Each group collected water samples from some sites at the Little Calumet River and Lake Michigan. Their presentations explored a myriad of topics regarding water quality, such as measuring the levels of E. Coli, alkalinity, plankton, and nitrates in the water. The students discussed their process for determining water quality, reported results to a panel of faculty and fielded their tough questions.

Supporting STEM students

This program is one of many planned throughout the year for NSF-AIMS Scholars. More than just a scholarship, the program promotes student success in science, technology, and math disciplines by providing academic and peer support.

NSF-AIMS Scholars are linked academically and socially through shared experiences. Academic and peer support is intertwined through placement seminars, peer-led instruction, field trips, a first-year STEM seminar, and cohort classes. NSF-AIMS scholars have opportunities to become instructional leaders, participate in faculty-mentored research, internships, and to take advantage of job placement services.

The scholarships are awarded to incoming freshmen and community college graduates, enabling them to attend college full-time without supplemental employment. They are renewable each year, up to three years for entering freshmen and one year for community college graduates.

Incoming freshmen with a GPA of 3.2 or better and community college graduates with a GPA of 3.0 or better are encouraged to apply. One major goal of NSF-AIMS is to increase the number of women, African Americans, and Hispanics in math and science in Northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland region. Individuals from these groups who are interested in pursuing careers in science, technology and math are strongly encouraged to apply by the March 2018 deadline.

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