BVU Receives Prestigious NSF Grant for STEM Scholarships

STORM LAKE, IA (07/26/2017) (readMedia)-- Buena Vista University's (BVU) School of Science was awarded a nearly $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support students who are entering a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field of study.

The grant (proposal #1643543) – which marks BVU's largest federal grant to date – was given through NSF's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, and launches BVU's STEM "Career And Research Exploration to Enhance Retention in STEM" (C.A.R.E.E.R.S.) program. The program was developed by a team of BVU faculty and staff as a way to provide low-income, underrepresented students access to targeted programs and services in an effort to enhance their success and retention in STEM fields.

"I am very excited for the STEM C.A.R.E.E.R.S. program because it can make a college education affordable for students and give them the needed support services to be successful," said Dr. Lisa Mellmann, who led the grant application effort and is associate professor of physical science at BVU.

BVU will identify a cohort of 15-18 first-year students to receive the grant money starting in the 2018-2019 academic year. Each student will receive aid up to $5,000 per year for up to four years and $2,000 for a science sampler interim trip. The second cohort of students will enroll in the fall of 2019.

Many students do not persist in STEM fields due to the lack of knowledge about the comprehensive range of careers that are available to them after graduation. The innovative STEM C.A.R.E.E.R.S. program aims to combat this issue through strategic student support and services.

In addition to the science sampler trip, the cohort will have access to a spectrum of services, including learning communities, tutoring, mentoring, success programs and a robust career development plan. Specific activities will include seminar-style courses, a career-focused science trip, and interdisciplinary research and internship opportunities.

"With the changing demographic and economic shifts in rural communities, the S-STEM initiative is a great opportunity for students interested in pursuing a STEM field," said Dr. John Bedward, who is also a member of the BVU team and is assistant professor of education – STEM at BVU.

The STEM C.A.R.E.E.R.S. program is interdisciplinary and enrolls low-income, high-performing students who major in biology, biochemistry, biomedical sciences, chemistry, computer science, data science, environmental science, mathematics, physics, pre-engineering, or science education. Eligible students can use the scholarship in conjunction with other BVU financial aid.

To apply and learn more about the STEM C.A.R.E.E.R.S. program, visit For additional information, contact Mellmann at, Dr. Gail Hartsock, assistant professor of mathematics, at, or BVU's Admissions Office at 800-383-9600.

About Buena Vista University

Since 1891, Buena Vista University has prepared students for lifelong success and blends liberal arts with real-world applications. Our traditional campus on the shores of Storm Lake hosts students in a variety of majors and pre-professional programs, including elementary, secondary, and special education; business and accounting; and biological and chemical sciences. Our 16 degree-completion locations, online, and graduate programs expand student potential with a pace and academic rigor designed for working adults and a variety of class formats that make scheduling even more convenient. With an average scholarship of more than 50 percent off of tuition, BVU is an affordable option for all students. Visit