News Release

Published on Monday, December 01, 2008

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Western Technical College have been awarded a $597,889 grant from the National Science Foundation to support scholarship opportunities for students studying computer science and computer engineering technology.

NSF awarded the Scholarships for Science Technology Engineering and Math (S-STEM) Grant to fund a project, titled “Interdisciplinary Collaboration of Computer Science and Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology.” The joint project is designed to increase participation in Western’s Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology program and UW-L’s Computer Science program and to promote the existing transfer agreement between the two programs.

“There is a growing need for graduates who have the combined understanding of computer hardware technology and software programming,” said Jeff Fancher, Western ECET instructor and principal investigator for the project. “As products and equipment become obsolete they are being replaced with an ever increasing software-driven component. This in conjunction with a large group of engineers and technicians approaching retirement is creating a demand for graduates with this unique training.”

“The funding we have received from NSF shows confidence in the 2+2 program developed by Western and UW-L's Computer Science department,” said Tom Gendreau, associate professor of Computer Science at UW-L. “By providing grants instead of loans, the S-STEM program reduces the costs students incur while completing a 4-year degree. We hope this will enable more students to complete a 4-year degree and graduate with skills and knowledge that are in high demand."

NSF’s funding proposals undergo a rigorous peer-review process, with each proposal reviewed by a number of faculty and administrators from colleges nationwide. Of the 277 proposals submitted for this S-STEM grant, 85 were funded.

The project supports students who enroll in and complete an associate degree, and continues support until scholars have earned their bachelor’s degree. Support services include orientation, advising, intercollegiate relationships, study groups, mentoring, supplemental lectures, attendance at regional technology meetings, and assistance with admission fees and child care.

Scholarships will be awarded beginning fall 2009 and will provide funding for up to 14 students during the 2009-2010 academic year. Students attending Western can be awarded up to $5,000 each year, and students attending UW-L can receive up to $10,000 each year.

According to the terms of NSF, scholarship recipients must be enrolled full-time in one of the specified degree programs, demonstrate academic ability, and have financial need, among other criteria.

For more information about the scholarship, visit www.westerntc.edu/scholarships/nsf.asp or www.cs.uwlax.edu.