For immediate release
Monday, April 13, 2015
Media contact: Tom Ackerman, 355-8002

University of Mary receives National Science Foundation money

BISMARCK, ND — The University of Mary will receive an S-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation in support of the Biology Department’s ECOWEB (Expanding Career Opportunities in Wildlife and Environmental Biology) program.

The S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) grant will provide scholarships and other higher education opportunities to low-income students interested in wildlife conservation or environmental science. Recruiting Native American students will be a particular focus.

The grant amount of $510,250 will provide scholarships of $8,000-$10,000 per year for five years to S-STEM scholars. Starting this fall, five students will be awarded the scholarships, then another seven students beginning fall 2016. All 12 students will receive the scholarships for four consecutive years provided they meet and maintain standard academic requirements.

“In the end, this tremendous gift is about the students and the major impact this scholarship will have on them and subsequently on North Dakota communities they’ll end up serving in the future,” said Dr. Nordlie. “This opportunity will provide the scholars with a number of activities to assist them in succeeding in college and to stimulate their interest in and enthusiasm for science, which we hope will culminate in their desire to attend graduate school.”

Students interested in the scholarships can apply online at

The principal investigator (PI) on the grant is Dr. Nordlie, with Dr. James Maskey and Dr. Michael Lares as co-PIs. With the recent implementation of the wildlife and conservation biology track within the biology major at Mary, Nordlie and her collaborators felt that, with the effects of the Bakken oil boom on North Dakota, the need for wildlife conservationists and environmental scientists will increase significantly in the next few years. This grant will allow the University of Mary to help meet those needs and offer educational opportunities to underserved populations.

S-STEM scholars will be matched with a faculty mentor and a peer mentor and will attend monthly seminars with wildlife conservation and environmental science professionals to explore career options, discuss issues and build relationships.
These students will be required to take part in a ‘citizen science’ project each year at Mary, including activities such as working with Dakota Zoo, involvement in FrogWatch, Animal Edventures and Conservation Day.

Each group of students will also visit a graduate school for one week, attend professional biology conferences and take advantage of research and internship opportunities.

Funding for the grant runs from May 1, 2015 to April 30, 2020.

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