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Breaking Barriers: Cedar Crest College Rockets Towards Gender Equality in STEM with NASA Award

Large check from NASA

NASA Selects Cedar Crest College for a Three-Year, $750,000 Award to Address Gender Gap in STEM Fields

Cedar Crest College has secured a prestigious three-year, $750,000 award from NASA. NASA has committed significant funding toward bridging the gender gap within the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The College aims to tackle the barriers faced by women in higher education and the workforce, empowering graduates to thrive and excel in these exciting fields. With this generous funding, Cedar Crest College is poised to make substantial strides in creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for women pursuing STEM careers.

The award, titled “Tackling Obstacles for Women’s Engagement and Retention in STEM (TOWERS),” is supported by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP). Drs. Lindsey A. Welch, associate professor of chemistry, and Audrey J. Ettinger, associate professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, are the named principal and co-principal investigators of the award, respectively.

Cedar Crest will contribute its knowledge and experience gleaned from more than 150+ years of successful promotion of women in the science and mathematics fields. “This opportunity will allow us to highlight the strengths of the educational experience at a women’s college,” says Dr. Welch. “My passion for mentoring women in science will fuel this crucial work over the next three years.”

TOWERS will provide many opportunities for students to excel in STEM fields. These include research, networking, mentoring, and professional development programs aimed at preparing them for the workforce and enabling them to realize their full potential. Notably, a summer bridge program will be introduced specifically for incoming first-year students intending to pursue STEM majors. This program will engage these undergraduates in research projects, fostering collaboration between students and faculty.

“I am excited about this opportunity to expand the ways we support our students as they pursue STEM fields,” says Dr. Ettinger. “We will be working with our colleagues at Cedar Crest, our alumnae, and the local Women in Science Engineering group to enhance our students’ professional journeys.”

Cedar Crest College is one of seven institutions selected to receive this funding.