Dordt College, in Sioux Center, Iowa, recently received a $1.2 million STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) grant, the largest in the school’s history. The grant was given by the National Science Foundation as part of its Robert Noyce Scholarship Program.
Dr. Valorie Zonnelfeld, associate professor of mathematics at Dordt, was the principal investigator and wrote the grant. “I hope that the Noyce Scholarship Program builds momentum for STEM education at Dordt and that it helps students overcome the financial obstacles to achieving a degree in STEM education,” she said.
Dr. Nathan Tintle, professor of statistics, said the grant money will be divided with $810,000 being used for scholarships given to students at Dordt who are STEM majors and who hope to become future teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Zonnelfeld explained the terms of the scholarship, saying, “In exchange for each year that students receive the $15,000 scholarship, they agree to teach for two years in a high-need school district. If they should choose not to do that, the scholarship turns into a loan.”
The rest of the money will go towards getting more students into STEM fields of study. The grant will start in the fall of 2017 and run until 2022, said Tintle.
Both Tintle and Zonnelfeld see great things for this grant as it applies to the future of STEM fields of study and the work in God’s kingdom. Zonnelfeld said, “It’s a great time to be in the field of STEM education. I’m excited to see how these students become leaders in their future classrooms promoting not only STEM, but an understanding of the beauty and order that God has built into this part of our lives.”
Tintle added, “My hope and prayer is that this grant can help more students feel comfortable following God’s leading to a life of service in helping children and youth learn about his creation.”