The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Awarded $1.4 Million NSF Grant

January 31, 2022

15 $10,000 Scholarships Available for Autumn 2022

The Ohio State University at Newark was awarded a $1.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to support economically disadvantaged students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The initiative, dubbed Ohio Means Science (OHMS), will contribute to the national and regional need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Ohio State Newark.

Beginning in autumn semester 2022, OHMS will offer scholarships of up to $5,000 per semester to 15 first-year students pursuing bachelor’s degrees in any of the almost 40 OHMS scholarship-eligible STEM disciplines offered at Ohio State. Qualifying students will receive up to two years of scholarship funding, STEM enrichment activities and supportive services at Ohio State Newark, then transition to the Ohio State Columbus campus for degree completion.

Two additional cohorts of 15 first-year students will be selected in the subsequent two years.

“With notable demographics of poverty in our recruiting territory, we believe that the OHMS program can attract students from a large pool of talented but disadvantaged and underrepresented minorities and women,” said Ohio State Newark Dean/Director William L. MacDonald, PhD. “Through this grant, Ohio State Newark will be a pathway for low-income, first-generation and returning students to showcase their abilities and complete STEM degrees at a national research university they may have previously thought beyond their reach.”

OHMS project activities and services include a short immersive research retreat at an active field station to launch each cohort, an academic year learning community with extra- and co-curricular opportunities in diverse STEM fields, and optional summer internships providing professional and career experience and connections.

Activities will be significantly supported with individualized faculty mentoring; early and ongoing research experiences; direct interaction with academic and industry scientists and engineers; and multiple academic, social and personal support services to keep scholars on track for campus transition and degree completion.

“The achievement and retention of disadvantaged students will strongly impact the region that we serve,” said OHMS Project Director/Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology J. Andrew Roberts, PhD.

OHMS results will be shared nationally and regionally, allowing successful program components to be utilized by other small regional public or liberal arts campuses to reduce attrition of similar students nationwide.

The project is funded by NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program, which seeks to increase the number of low-income, academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation and academic/career pathways of low-income students.

The project design adapts successful evidence-based practices from traditional college settings to the environment of regional and community colleges. Investigations will examine the effectiveness of recruitment messaging; impact of performance-based STEM-focused financial aid on entry and retention; and patterns of success across gender, income level, underrepresented minority and first-generation college student status. Project-level expected outcomes include the successful transition from students’ first to second year, successful transition between campuses for their third year, and degree completion. Broader outcomes include a better understanding of the campus-transition experience for students in STEM majors and adoption of successful program components by other public university regional campuses to reduce attrition of similar students nationwide.

“We anticipate our enthusiastic, diversity-committed STEM faculty will inspire and enable low-income, academically talented undergraduate students to choose and continue in STEM fields, creating new role models for those who follow as they improve their economic outlook,” said Roberts.

Enrollment at Ohio State Newark is open to any Ohio resident who is a high school graduate or earned a General Educational Development (GED) diploma. OHMS application details and a list of OHMS scholarship-eligible disciplines are available here. The application deadline is April 22. For additional questions please email

To visit Ohio State Newark, take a virtual campus tour or learn more, visit To apply to Ohio State Newark, visit and select freshman – regional.

OHMS will be led by a six-member core team plus 10 additional faculty/staff participants at Ohio State Newark and a host of internship and research opportunity providers/collaborators around the region. In addition to Roberts and MacDonald, other members of Ohio State Newark’s project core team are:

  • Melissa Buelow, associate professor, psychology
  • Karen Goodell; professor; evolution, ecology and organismal biology
  • Elizabeth Weiser, professor, English
  • Shanna Smith Jaggars, Ohio State assistant provost, research and program assessment

The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.

Photo caption: Members of Ohio State Newark’s OHMS core team: L to R, Melissa Buelow, associate professor, psychology; J. Andrew Roberts, project director and associate professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology; William L. MacDonald, Ohio State Newark dean/director; Karen Goodell, professor, evolution, ecology and organismal biology; and Elizabeth Weiser, professor, English.