School of Life Sciences Welcomes First Students into Succeed in STEM Program

Sep. 9, 2019

The UNLV School of Life Sciences recently welcomed its first cohort of 17 Succeed in STEM Scholarship recipients.

The cohort is part of a $649,407 grant from the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education for a project titled “Developing the Skill and Will to Succeed in STEM.”

“A primary goal is to diversify and increase the number of students entering STEM professions,” said Jenifer Utz, associate professor in residence in the School of Life Sciences. "The program provides scholarships to academically strong students with financial need. In addition to scholarship support, the grant also supports implementation of many curricular and co-curricular enhancements to increase achievement and career readiness for all our undergraduate biology majors.”

The scholarship program distributed more than $65,000 in scholarship support to the first cohort and will distribute more than $420,000 across the lifetime of the program. The first cohort includes eleven females, six first-generation college students, and nine students from diverse ethnic and racial groups. Utz commented that, “We are proud to see the diversity of our UNLV student body and the greater Las Vegas community represented within our scholarship program."

“I am grateful for scholarships to help continue my education, but it is always my own responsibility to finish out each school year,” said Megan Tuerke, a freshman member of the first cohort. “I am the first one in my family to pursue an education and career in STEM, so I can really use more than just financial support. This scholarship is exactly what I need to support me, to point me in the right direction, and to help me meet connections and people that are in the same position as me. I know I can make the most out of this scholarship and I know it will bring me closer to becoming an obstetrician.”

“We wanted to let our student scholars know how excited we were to welcome them to campus and to give them an opportunity to meet each other in a fun way,” said Kathryn Rafferty, assistant professor in residence in the School of Life Sciences. “So, we partnered with the Hospitality Hall Kitchen to host a Welcome Dinner. Students made then delivered pizzas to others in the group. It was a fantastic start for the fall semester.”