Kettering receives NSF grant to support robotics students

Jul 15, 2014

“The future success of American industry is tied to our ability as a nation to provide opportunities and career paths in STEM to talented students from all backgrounds.”

A grant from the National Science Foundation will support STEM education for a larger pool of students.

Kettering University has received a grant for nearly $600,000 from the National Science Foundation to support academically talented but financially disadvantaged students in their pursuit to become leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The funding allows Kettering’s S-STEM for Undergraduate Education program -- Support Through Robotics for Underserved Talented Students (STRUTS) -- to award gap scholarships to students who are able to qualify academically for Kettering but can’t secure enough financial aid to attend.

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“We are giving these students a support system that says if they can do the work to qualify academically, we will find a way to get you here,” said Dr. Henry Kowalski, professor of Mechanical Engineering, who was a principal investigator on the grant along with Dr. Natalie Candela, director of the Academic Success Center.

The scholarships will provide up to $10,000 yearly per student to cover tuition gaps for the full 4.5 years they are at Kettering. While at Kettering, the students will receive support through experiential learning, leadership opportunities, FIRST Robotics mentoring, multi-level mentorship and rigorous academics to ensure their success. Although the scholarship is open to all applicants, students who have participated in FIRST Robotics are being sought.

FIRST -- For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology -- was founded by Dean Kamen in 1989 as a way for kids to sharpen skills and learn about career paths in science, technology and engineering fields. The competition-based program also fosters teamwork and communication skills and connects students with mentors working in industry and education. FIRST has a tremendous track record for preparing its participants for outstanding academic and professional careers.

STRUTS will be centered around the new FIRST Robotics Community Center at Kettering University, which will house high school FIRST Robotics teams on campus and allow students from a wide range of backgrounds to be immersed in Kettering’s campus at the pre-college level. STRUTS Scholars will acquire essential leadership skills when they mentor the FIRST Robotics participants working in the center. Simultaneously, STRUTS Scholars will be mentored by an extensive pool of committed Kettering faculty from a variety of disciplines. They will also receive targeted academic support, have a strong cohort and a cadre of peer mentors who completed a class in mentoring.

The STRUTS program is a way to ensure that talented, STEM-oriented students are not hindered from pursuing an education due to finances. The need for a diversified, growing, STEM workforce is constantly growing, and the students in the STRUTS program bring enormous potential to fill these industry needs through their education.

“The future success of American industry is tied to our ability as a nation to provide opportunities and career paths in STEM to talented students from all backgrounds,” said Kettering University President Dr. Robert K. McMahan. “The STRUTS program, in coordination with our first-in-the-nation FIRST Robotics Community Center here at Kettering, gives us as a University the ability to support and inspire students in STEM from their pre-college years in FIRST Robotics all the way through their undergraduate education at Kettering. We at Kettering are passionate about nurturing talented students from all backgrounds and helping them to unlock their leadership and academic potential. We thank the National Science Foundation for its support of STRUTS, and for giving us the ability through this program to open a universe of opportunities in STEM to an even wider pool of talented students.”


Written By Patrick Hayes | Contact: Patrick Hayes - phayes@kettering.edu - (810) 762-9639