College of Engineering and Computing earns grant for combined degree program

A robotic cooler, on display at a senior engineering project day in 2019.
Image credit - Valerie Wojciechowski

Grand Valley's Padnos College of Engineering and Computing has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a program that will support students who are earning a combined bachelor's and master's degree program in engineering.

Over the five years of the program, the $967,019 award will provide financial support to 30 full-time undergraduate engineering students who will go on to pursue a master's degree in engineering through the university's combined degree program. Students selected for the program will receive two years of scholarship support in their final year of undergraduate study and the first year of their graduate program.

The scholarship program is intended to encourage academically talented students from low-income backgrounds to pursue a higher degree in engineering. In addition to scholarships, the program will also provide curricular and other support structures.

The program will also provide faculty mentoring, cohort immersion, peer mentoring, experiential learning, research activities and much more.

"This unique NSF grant project provides great support for our high- achieving students in engineering who might not have considered completing a master’s degree due to financial limitations or family obligations," said Paul Plotkowski, Dean of the Padnos College of Engineering and Computing, "The mentoring of these students by experienced faculty is known to be as important as the scholarship support."

Program leaders say the grant funds will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians.

"The three-phased mentoring and other critical infrastructure for this project will enrich the students’ academic, social, and professional growth while improving the diversity of our graduate engineering program," said Sanjivan Manoharan, assistant professor in the School of Engineering. "Connecting diverse and highly qualified graduate engineering students to full-time employment will provide several societal benefits while also ensuring the sustainability of the project."

The National Science Foundation supports research, innovation, and discovery that provides the foundation for economic growth in the United States.


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