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Virginia Tech Awarded Non-Traditional Graduate Student Scholarship Program
September 4, 2009

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Virginia Tech $506,373 for a five-year program “Broadening Opportunities for Nontraditional Graduate Students in Biomolecular Science.”

The growth in biotechnology and its impact on agriculture has created a need for a highly trained workforce of graduate-level scientists. The Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program at Virginia Tech will address the need by enhancing the stipends of students recruited by the entomology and biochemistry departments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. In all, 44 scholarships of $10,000 each will be provided.

Carlyle Brewster, associate professor of entomology, who is directing the S-STEM program, described ‘nontraditional’ students as, “individuals who differ from traditional students because they are older; have different backgrounds, such as ethnicity, military service, or socioeconomic status; or have risk factors that can reduce retention, such as being a single parent or having other dependents.” Students are being recruited through existing programs in the Virginia Tech Graduate School, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program, and elsewhere. The Fralin Life Science Institute at Virginia Tech will also invite applications during the institute’s recruitment weekend October 17th.

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