Skip to Main Content
Student Success

S-STEM Scholarship provides students with pathway to pursue STEM education goals

Partnership with National Science Foundation awards up to $10,000 per year

Zachary Matthews
Zachary Matthews
Student Success

S-STEM Scholarship provides students with pathway to pursue STEM education goals

Zachary Matthews

When Zachary Matthews completes his master’s degree in Computer Science at Miami University in May, he hopes to land a job as an AGILE Team Lead with a major corporation — a career goal that he might have had to put off for years without the help of a valuable STEM scholarship.

Matthews, who began as an Information Technology student at Miami University Regionals in August of 2019, was one of a dozen Miami students who were part of the first cohort in fall 2022 to begin studying in selected STEM fields with the help of the National Science Foundation’s S-STEM Scholarship program

The scholarship provides up to $5,000 for qualifying undergraduate students and up to $10,000 for graduate students to help them overcome financial barriers to pursuing careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.

Miami was awarded $1.5 million in scholarship funding through the program in 2022 and expects to support up to 132 students with financial aid through the grant. The goal of the NSF S-STEM program is to increase opportunity in fields such as computer science, information technology, and mechanical engineering.

Students at Miami Regionals are eligible to apply for the scholarship if they pursue qualifying STEM majors and meet income and academic criteria. They can begin at the associate degree level and continue all the way through to graduate school at Miami utilizing the S-STEM scholarship.

Miami Regionals’ newest major, Cybersecurity and Networking, coming in the spring semester, will soon be added to the list of qualifying majors for the S-STEM scholarship.

Project Director Kumar Singh, professor and chair in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, said the scholarship encourages students to pursue further educational opportunities.

“One of the critical features is to develop a curricular pathway such that students in technology programs from regional and community colleges can pursue graduate (master’s) programs in mechanical engineering and computer science at the Oxford campus,” he said. “Such a pathway encourages students to further their academic goals.”                                                                          

For students like Matthews, the scholarship has been game-changing. It allowed him to start at the Regionals and continue through to a master’s degree at the Oxford campus immediately after graduation. This accelerated his education goals and made his plans to pursue career advancement in computer engineering much closer than he thought possible. Without the S-STEM scholarship, this might have taken years longer.

“College is an expensive investment,” Matthews said. “I don’t know how I would have paid for a master’s degree without this scholarship. I thought I would have to work for several years to save up for the chance to go back to get my master’s. This allowed me to finish my education right out of high school.”


Blessing Adeyemo
Blessing Adeyemo

S-STEM scholar Blessing Adeyemo, a fourth-year Information Technology major, said the scholarship alleviated financial hardships that almost led to her dropping out. 

"By the time I got the scholarship last fall, I was running out of options for financing my education,” she said. “I was working 35 hours a week to pay for tuition and rent, and I couldn’t take out any more loans. The scholarship eliminated a lot of stress and allowed me to concentrate on school.”

Her dream is to work for Microsoft one day and eventually open a school for girls in her home country of Nigeria. She said she wants to pass on her passion for technology to young women so they can pursue their own careers in STEM fields. For now, she said a summer cybersecurity internship at Bank of America has led to an exciting job offer after she graduates.

Building relationships is part of the program

In addition to financial aid, the program seeks to build a community of STEM students who can network and learn from each other. S-STEM scholars receive support with career advice, internships, research opportunities, mentoring, and social activities.

Marianne Murphy, professor and chair in the Department of Computer and Information Technology and a team leader for the S-STEM program, said the first cohort has been enthusiastic about the opportunities the scholarship has provided.

“They feel proud to be STEM scholars,” Murphy said. “Throughout the semester, we offer opportunities for the scholars to get together and talk about their experiences and aspirations. Many would be unable to finish even one degree without working one or more jobs. This scholarship allows them to focus their time on opportunities that allow them to grow in their respective fields as well as a pathway to continue.”

To date, the program is a proven success story. “So far we have a cohort of 25 students selected for the program who are continuing to further their education or have graduated. Three are continuing on to study for master’s degrees in computer science at Oxford.”

Murphy called it a win-win for everyone. 

“Students win because they don’t have to worry about finances. It’s a win for the university because we increase retention rates with students who might previously have left due to lack of funds.”

For more information and application details, see the S-STEM scholarship site. Applicants to the program are accepted in both the spring and the fall.