Navarro College has thousands of dollars in math and science scholarships to give away but needs students to apply.

Navarro has $129,237 to give away in scholarships over the next two years as part of the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Challenge Scholarship or T-STEM Challenge Scholarship. The grant from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board encourages students in state colleges and universities to pursue degrees in math and science.

“It is not just engineering, it's computer science, math, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing, there are lots and lots of majors,” said Terry Gibson, dean of academic services, adding that pre-med, pre-veterinarian and pre-pharmacy and dentistry are also included.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must have graduated high school with an average of at least a 3.0-grade point average in mathematics and science courses regardless of if they are already attending college courses. Students will agree to work no more than 15 hours a week in their chosen instructional program area or related field or for a business participating in the T-Stem Challenge Scholarship program. They must have declared a major in a field related to math and science, and complete 30 hours of classes during the 2016-17 school year including summer semester.

“It can be a little harder to find qualified students. We know they are out there,” Gibson said.

The 3.0 average high school math and science score is often the sticking point that knocks student out of the running, said Harold L. Housley, vice president of institutional advancement and operations.

“We are having trouble giving this money away, but we don't want to send it back to the state,” Housley explained.

The scholarship, established by House Bill 2910 passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature in 2011, is designed to encourage Texas schools to graduate more math and science graduates, he said, to create workers qualified to fill the increasing demand of companies operating here.

“We don't want to lose these fields to people from other states or countries because we are not graduating enough people in those fields,” Gibson explained.

While some may not think of a community college when considering a technology, math or science degree, Navarro has many highly qualified and experienced instructors at it's Ellis County campuses, she said.

“The people teaching physics here actually worked on the Super Collider,” Gibson said.

Students could receive up to $2,500 annually from the T-STEM Challenge Program which is applied in addition to any scholarships or financial aid they receive, she said.

“If you come to Navarro and receive this grant, it would cover so much,” said Christina Mims, interim dean of science, kinesiology, and PASS.

This is the third year Navarro has offered the grant, she said, and in the 2015-16 school year, six students received the grant. That means the college currently has enough money to fund about 25 students at the maximum award, she said.

If students register now, they have until Aug. 19 to pay for classes and should be able to get a better selection of classes to meet the scholarship requirements, Mims said.

Students with any questions about the scholarship or the work experience requirement can contact Housley's office at 903-875-7307, he said, or apply at http://www.navarrocollege.edu/financialaid/types-of-aid/scholarships-and-grants/. The work experience could be either paid or unpaid and can be something the student suggests or the college helps them find, Mims said.

Companies that wish to provide a paid or unpaid internship to help meet this requirement are also encouraged to call, she said.

This grant will also be available to students for the 2017-18 school year, Mims said.

 

Contact Bethany Kurtz at 469-517-1450 or email bkurtz@waxahachietx.com. Follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BethanyKurtzMidloMirror or on Twitter @bethmidlomirror.