Western’s Engineering and Design Department has received a five-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help low-income students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in one of Western’s three engineering programs.
Funded by the NSF’s Scholarships in STEM program, Becoming Engaged Engineering Scholars, BEES, aims to address challenges in recruiting and retaining academically talented, low-income students from diverse backgrounds in engineering.
The BEES program, coordinated by WWU Engineering faculty members Andy Klein and Sura Al-Qudah, will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to about 48 students over the life of the five-year program.
Cohorts of 12 students per year will enter the NSF-funded program, and while their first two years are spent receiving monetary, academic, and social support from the department, their second two years flip the script and have them acting as peer support for the newest, incoming student cohorts.
“We want as diverse a group of students as possible,” says Al-Qudah. “We are working to make it clearer that our doors are open to students from different groups and backgrounds, because we know what diversity of thought and experience brings to a campus, and how important that is.”