A nearly $1 million grant to support scholarships for transfer students in their quest for STEM degrees was recently awarded to UCF by the National Science Foundation.

The $999,994 grant – STEM TRansfer Students Opportunity for Nurtured Growth, or STRONG for short – was awarded to the Office of Research & Commercialization to run from next month to February 2023.

More than half of UCF’s new undergraduates are transfer students. The recipients of the new scholarships must demonstrate academic potential or ability, and demonstrate a financial need. Project STRONG will support about 30 scholarships per year in the disciplines of engineering, computer science, mathematics, physics, statistics, chemistry and biology.

“Students entering the university in STEM programs will receive the support needed to feel at home in their fields of study, at a time when they are 90 percent more likely to leave STEM than at any other time,” according to the program overview. “Talented, low-income students, of whom one out of three would otherwise leave STEM within six years, will develop interest and proficiency in STEM disciplines through opportunities provided by the program.”

UCF will provide one-on-one faculty-student mentoring, regular discipline-specific seminars, research lab internship opportunities, financial-literacy counseling and other services. The overview also says the project for STEM transfers will be conducted as “a model to be tested, improved, and ready for dissemination nationwide.”

The interdisciplinary project will be under the direction of Mubarak Shah, Trustee Chair Professor of computer science; Brian Moore, associate professor of mathematics; Malcolm B. Butler, professor of secondary education; Nazanin Rahnavar, associate professor of electric and computer engineering; and Gordon Chavis, associate vice president for enrollment services.