“There is a global need for well-educated scientists, including computer scientists, and this grant is critical for supporting high-achieving, low-income students as they pursue careers in those fields,” says Dr. Peter Eden, president of Landmark College, which exclusively serves students with learning differences such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism, or executive function challenges.
This funding also supports the further development of an undergraduate research assistance program which will allow grant recipients the opportunity to become actively involved in the planning and implementation of research and scholarship at Landmark College.
Eden points out that the project has the potential to diversify participation in STEM fields and foster a strong STEM identity in neurodiverse students that will support their academic and career success.
Landmark College faculty member Dr. Michelle Wallace, co-principal investigator with colleagues Dr. Brian Young and Rebecca Matte, shared the team’s enthusiasm for the project, “We are excited to be able to work with and learn from such a talented and motivated group of STEM students. The project goals include sharing our lessons learned so that other educators can work with neurodiverse students with more confidence,” Wallace said.
The award is the largest grant that Landmark College has received from the National Science Foundation. Funds will provide scholarships for as many as 36 students over a six-year period. First-year students may receive up to four years of support while transfer and associate degree students may receive up to two-years of scholarship support.
In addition to the scholarship money, the NSF grant also funds mentorships, research opportunities and internships, among other activities, to better understand how these supports improve retention and graduation rates for this student population.
“This project builds on our current model of individualized, well-resourced support in ways that will help us understand the psychosocial factors that contribute to early career success for neurodivergent students,” said Eden.