UA receives funding to support students in the STEMM fields


The University of Akron (UA) was recently awarded $719,999.95 for the FY23 Choose Ohio First (COF) scholarship funding from the Ohio Department of Education. The program helps to increase more students to graduate in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine fields.

UA’s Choose Ohio First Scholars Program has long been one of the largest and strongest in the state, owing to its openness to recruit hard-working students from backgrounds that are typically underrepresented in STEMM fields.

Once on campus, students are supported by a number of programs and professionals. Scholars in the program carry an average college GPA of 3.1. And 70% of them are engineering majors.

They also graduate. The year-to-year retention rate is more than 90%. More than 75% graduate within six years, well above the national average of students in STEMM fields.

Avis Brown directs the Office of Academic and Retention Support, where he and his staff support and encourage more than 300 Choose Ohio First students.

“From the beginning of this program, we have been purposeful in our commitment to diverse recruiting in the broadest sense of the term,” Brown said. “We are expanding our reach to find promising students in Appalachia, in urban areas, from small high schools, from rural schools and beyond. The latest grant requires us to focus on BIPOC students. With no minimum GPA or ACT requirement, we still have leveled the playing field for more students to be offered the award. Test optional and the academic impact on K-12 from COVID has created challenges in STEM, but we are prepared to provide Scholars with the academic support and services they need, as they work towards graduation.”

UA also offers COF scholarship recipients the opportunity to participate in a summer bridge “boot camp” program to give students a” Running Start” in math and other challenging courses. Undergraduate research and internships are encouraged, as is the use of tutors. Brown and his team assemble at the end of each term review holistically each student’s life on and off campus, and to offer individual guidance.

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