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Saint Vincent College gets scholarship to promote female STEM enrollment

Jeff Himler
| Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, 5:15 p.m.
The Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion on the Saint Vincent College campus near Latrobe on March 11, 2013.
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
The Sis and Herman Dupre Science Pavilion on the Saint Vincent College campus near Latrobe on March 11, 2013.

A $212,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation will allow Saint Vincent College to offer scholarships to four female students majoring in computing, engineering science or physics.

The Unity college is one of 11 U.S. institutions of higher learning this year to receive the funding, which is meant to increase the number of women who enroll in and graduate from the targeted programs.

Two female Saint Vincent students will be selected in 2018, and two more in 2019, to participate in the Clare Boothe Luce Scholars Program. Each will have tuition, fees, room and board covered during her junior and senior years through a combination of the grant and college funds.

Each recipient also will be compensated for taking part in a summer research program or in the Clare Boothe Luce Scholar STEM Module Development Summer Program, to be held from mid-May through late June at SVC.

In the latter program, the scholars will work with SVC faculty to develop middle and high school learning modules that encourage female students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The modules will be used in summer programs at SVC — including residential camps for high school students from the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas, and the Challenge enrichment program that is open to students in grades 5-12.

Luce scholars pursuing research will be paired with a SVC faculty member or may apply for an assignment at a national laboratory or through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates.

During the academic year, the scholarship recipients will be encouraged to serve as collaborative learning leaders or tutors, and each junior scholar will mentor up to three first-year female students majoring in the program's targeted fields.

The recipients also will meet with women who express interest in the selected majors during the college's Get Acquainted Days and will be on hand for related activities the college hosts for high school students — such as the Pasta Engineering Bridge Competition and Cybersecurity Day.

The scholarship selection committee includes John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of physics; Stephen Jodis, dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing and professor of computing and information systems; Paul Follansbee, chair and professor of engineering science; Cynthia Martincic, chair and associate professor of computing and information systems; Anis Maize, chair and professor of physics; Jennifer Diemunsch, assistant professor of mathematics.

Clare Boothe Luce, who died in 1987, left the majority of her estate to the Henry Luce Foundation. She was instrumental in establishing the Atomic Energy Commission, served as the U.S. ambassador to Italy and was appointed to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983 and was posthumously inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

Saint Vincent College last month dedicated its $5.8 million James F. Will Engineering and Biomedical Science Hall.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622, or via Twitter @jhimler_news.

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