The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (Pitt-Greensburg) has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the retention and graduation rates of students in STEM. Through the S-STEM Scholarship Program, the NSF is strengthening the U.S scientific workforce by supporting academically talented students who would otherwise have difficulties reaching their goals.
The goal of the STEM Learning Interdisciplinary Community Expansion (SLICE) Scholarship program at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is to attract, recruit, retain, and graduate academically talented, STEM students from rural areas with baccalaureate degrees in the natural sciences.
Scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for a period of up to four years are available to eligible academically talented students. Currently, scholarships are being awarded for Fall 2022 to newly admitted undergraduate students with declared majors in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, & Applied Mathematics.
This SLICE Scholarship program aims to:
1. Increase student satisfaction, increase student retention and improve academic performance utilizing seminar courses, science learning communities, academic orientation, academic advising, graduate exam preparatory courses and tutors to remove academic barriers.
2. Allow SLICE Scholars to develop highly valued relationships on campus through faculty and peer mentoring, career development, and a variety of extended learning opportunities.
3. Expand SLICE Scholar’s scientific literacy, increase students understanding and ability to communicate understanding, and increase self-efficacy of Scholars through attendance and participation in a monthly journal club.
4. Develop SLICE Scholar’s ability to cultivate research project ideas, analyze and interpret results, and effectively communicate research findings while undergraduates through job shadowing, internships and Senior Capstone Research Experience.
5. Increase SLICE Scholar’s abilities of time management, decision-making, strategic planning, and problem solving skills through leadership opportunities as peer mentors of underclassmen, teaching assistants, and tutors.
6. To deliver the most appropriate services and interventions to benefit SLICE Scholars the project team will implement assessment and evaluation plans that effectively guide the project team and allow for the broader dissemination of the SLICE Scholarship Program.
To be eligible to participate in the scholarship program, students must:
1. Be an incoming first-year student intended to major in Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, or Applied Mathematics in Fall 2022
2. Apply to be a full-time student at Pitt-Greensburg
3. Be U.S. citizens, nationals, aliens admitted as refugees, permanent resident aliens
4. Demonstrate academic potential via a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
5. Demonstrate financial need as defined by the U.S. Department of Education
• Participate in Science Learning Community
o Attend an Academic Orientation
o Enroll in STEMinar I & II
o Career exploration field trips
o Journal Clubs (Sophomore-Senior Year)
o Interdisciplinary workshops
• Faculty Mentoring
• Developing Leadership Skills
• Capstone Research
• Attending and Presenting at Regional or National conferences
Scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to participate in optional activities to tailor their program experiences to their particular needs and interests. These include, but are not limited to:
• Receiving tutoring services
• Job shadowing/ internships
• Directed independent study
• Becoming a teaching assistant, peer mentor, or tutor
• Becoming involved with professional societies
• Joining student organizations
• Assisting with the Quest and Summer Science Math Experience summer camps
In Spring 2019, Pitt Greensburg graduated its first cohort of SLICE scholars.
|SLICE Scholars - Cohort 1||Matched Controls|
|4-Year Graduation Rates||75% - all with STEM degrees||27% - only 5% with STEM degrees|
100% of Cohort 1 SLICE scholars who graduated have been accepted to various graduate programs or have entered into STEM careers. For instance, in STEM employment, one is employed at West Virginia University as a research technician another is employed at Pace Analytical, in Greensburg Pa. Graduate programs include Masters in Biological Science and Doctorate of Pharmacy Program.
SLICE Celebration Dinner: April 23, 2019
A dinner was held with the SLICE Scholars and families, Faculty mentors, and Pitt-Greensburg Administration to honor the first SLICE scholars accomplishments. Top Row: (right) Darius Eicher-Peebles, Sterling Sin, Syed Raza Zaidi, Joseph Maier Bottom: (right) Samantha Ursiny and Carissa Berg
Top Row: (right) Barbra Barnhart, Dr. Mark Stauffer, Beth Uhrinek, Darius Eicher-Peebles, Sterling Sin, Syed Raza Zaidi, Joseph Maier, Dr. Olivia Long, Dr. Brooke McClendon. Bottom: (right) Samantha Ursiny, Carissa Berg, and Dr. Sharon Smith
Cohort 1 Graduation
Top Row: (right) Syed Raza Zaidi, Joseph Maier, Sterling Sin. Bottom: Carissa Berg, Kassie Hickman, Samantha Ursiny and Darius Eicher-Peebles
"I would like to thank the National Science Foundation for the opportunities they have given me by allowing me to be an SLC scholar at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. It is with their help that I was able to complete by bachelor’s degree without financial stress. Being an SLICE scholar also gave me many opportunities I likely would not have had otherwise, such as journal clubs. They significantly helped me in being able to read and understand scientific articles, which helped in my research and other courses. Additionally, I was able to attend multiple off-campus research conferences including presenting my research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences at UMBC. I truly believe I had a greater college experience thanks to the SLICE-Program." – Kassie Hickman, Class of 2019 (SLICE Cohort 1)
IMPORTANT: Fall 2022 SLICE scholarship applications will be due on July 1, 2022. Priority will be given to scholarship applications turned in by May 1, 2022, and students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to increase their likelihood of receiving their award.
For additional information about the SLICE Program or to start a SLICE program at your institution, please contact
Dr. Olivia Long, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
150 Finoli Drive
Greensburg, PA 15601
Partial support for the SLICE Scholarship program is being provided by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S STEM) program under Award No. 2130102. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.