Westmont Magazine Grant Funds Scholarships
The National Science Foundation awarded Westmont professors Kim Kihlstrom and Wayne Iba a $287,500 grant for their project, Connection-Oriented Computer Science Education. The funds will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 each year to computer science majors who demonstrate financial need and academic promise.
The project aims to increase the number of talented and well-prepared computer science graduates, particularly women and culturally diverse students. It builds on a program established through an earlier NSF grant to Westmont, which included recruiting, undergraduate research opportunities, women’s activities, mentoring, internships, conference participation and community-building experiences.
Additional activities for the new project are Connection Weekend, an annual scholarship competition to be held at Westmont Feb. 22-23, 2008, as well as administration of study groups and tutoring.
“We’re so thankful our relatively new computer science major has received such significant support from a very prestigious funding agency,” Kihlstrom says. She serves as principal investigator for the program. “The project will increase cultural and ethnic diversity in our program, benefiting the entire community. We have many students with significant financial need, and the scholarships will have a very positive impact on them.”
Computer science students at Westmont may engage in cutting-edge research with Kihlstrom and Iba, possibly publishing scientific papers and giving presentations at academic conferences. Pursuing interdisciplinary connections with other fields such as business, biology or art, is another opportunity open to majors.
The Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program of NSF funded 90 of the 250 proposals it received from institutions such as Harvard, Cornell, Texas A&M, University of Arizona, U.S. Air Force Academy, University of North Carolina, University of Texas, Harvey Mudd College and University of Massachusetts.