Springfield, Ohio — The phrase "opportunity of a lifetime" has special meaning for Wittenberg University, which joined seven other Miami Valley higher education institutions in the Dayton Regional Collaborative to receive $3.94 million in funding for scholarships in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEM).
The funding was announced today by the Ohio Board of Regents as part of the second round of Choose Ohio First (COF) Scholarship awards. The COF program is part of the Ohio Innovation Partnership (OIP), which was created by the Ohio General Assembly to assist Ohio colleges and universities in attracting and retaining the best and brightest students in academic areas critical to the state’s economic development.
The COF is one of three OIP-sponsored initiatives totaling $400 million designed to fuel economic development statewide. In addition to COF, the OIP also supports the Research Scholars Program and other STEM initiatives, including five STEM schools, one of which will be located in the Dayton region. In addition to Wittenberg, Wright State University, the lead institution in the effort, Central State University, the University of Dayton, Clark State Community College, Edison Community College, Sinclair Community College and Southern State Community College, are all part of the Dayton regional collaborative, which requested the funding.
Working in partnership with area businesses, educational organizations, high-tech industry leaders, research and development operations, local hospitals and others, the collaborative will assist in growing the STEM pipeline throughout the Dayton region in alignment with the economic development priorities and employment needs of the area. At the same time, the collaborative is committed to "increasing the participation and graduation of underrepresented populations, and to providing internships, co-ops, and other experiential learning" opportunities for Choose Ohio First scholars.
"Wittenberg University is excited to be a part of regional efforts to prepare Ohio students for expanding opportunities in STEM fields," said President Mark H. Erickson. "By partnering with area businesses and academic institutions, the Dayton regional collaborative will allow us to build upon our strong tradition in the sciences to benefit young people and fuel the economic growth of the Dayton region and across Ohio."
The funding awarded today will allow the eight colleges and universities involved in the Dayton Regional Collaborative to offer approximately 1,000 scholarships, ranging from $1,500 to $4,700. The number of scholarships and funding per institution is yet to be determined. The goal is to increase enrollment in STEM disciplines by a minimum of 10 percent, producing a net additional 335 graduates per year in the targeted STEM disciplines.
"These scholarships will be awarded to Ohio students who are more likely to remain in Ohio, and specifically in the Dayton region," said Wittenberg Director of Financial Aid Randy Green. "They will also provide the critical highly trained workforce for our growing STEM industries."
Written By: Karen Gerboth and Ryan Maurer