STEM on the Rise

STEM on the Rise

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Siena’s announcement of a $687,876 grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Siena Plan for Attracting and Retaining Computer Scientists is the latest in a series of achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Employment projections in science and engineering are projected to grow by more than double the rate of all occupations and Siena has responded by investing in scientific instrumentation and earning several federal grants:

SAInT Center:

SAInT is an acronym that stands for Siena Advanced Instrumentation & Technology. This center is scheduled to open in September and will contain 15 pieces of state-of-the-art equipment used by students and faculty to conduct research.

Radio Telescope:

Once used by scientists at the South Pole, Siena faculty and students reassembled a massive telescope on campus.


The School of Science received 13 grants in the last year totaling more than $2.4 million from organizations such as NASA, the National Institute of Health, the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the National Science Foundation.

In the last 10 years, the School of Science has been awarded nearly $15 million in grant funding, which is a significant amount for a liberal arts college of Siena’s size.

“Siena’s grant activity has enabled us to pass on unparalleled research opportunities in STEM to our students,” said Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., Siena’s dean of the School of Science.

Some recent grants include:

Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Grant
This five year grant from the National Science Foundation valued at nearly $620,000 provides up to $10,000 in unmet financial aid to 40 talented Siena students who enroll in STEM programs. It also provides them with expanded research opportunities, faculty mentoring and advising services. Formerly the Tech Valley Scholars program, the S-STEM initiative has graduated 97% of students in four years with an average GPA of 3.59.

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates Grant
Siena is one of just three undergraduate colleges that currently hold this grant. The nearly $360,000 grant provides high-achieving undergraduates from across the nation with a 10-week summer research opportunity at Siena for four years. It comes with a $5,000 stipend and room and board. There are currently 13 students, including six from Siena College, conducting research in the field of artificial intelligence under the advisement of faculty mentors. They are studying topics covering the environment, social media, interactive online searches and the effects of rap lyrics.

National Science Foundation Noyce Mathematics and Science Teaching Scholarship Program
Siena’s growth in STEM has also expanded to the education field. In 2012, Siena received a nearly $1.2 million NSF grant to provide scholarships, mentoring and support services to recruit, certify and retain 21 high-achieving STEM majors to become math, computer science and science teachers in high-need middle and high schools. Siena's first four Noyce Scholars graduated in May. Corinne delaGorgendiere '14 has accepted a job in Maryland, two students are matriculating to graduate school and the other is applying to teaching jobs in New York City. There are currently 12 Siena students remaining in the Noyce Program.

National Science Foundation to support the Siena Plan for Attracting and Retaining Computer Scientists
As noted above, Siena recently received a $687,876 grant from the National Science Foundation to support the Siena Plan for Attracting and Retaining Computer Scientists. SPARCS focuses on recruiting and retaining computing majors in high school and the first two years of college. The program includes a high school dual enrollment program that introduces computer science education to Capital Region high schools that are not currently offering it.