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Grant will provide scholarships for STEM-degrees

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jan 27, 2014 4:11 AM

(Harrisburg) -- More scholarships will be available to underprivileged students at a midstate university.

School classroom teacher

A $570,000 grant from Select Medical, which runs specialty hospitals, long term care and physical therapy centers, will help fund scholarships at Harrisburg University.

Many of the school's degree programs, like biotechnology or pharmaceutical design, are in the STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

"That's a tricky business because particularly in school districts where kids may not have role models in science and technology, they're not going to live next to a scientist, or they're not going to live next to someone who works in the IT industry. And so part of the why we do work in the school districts and with the school districts is on career counseling," says Eric Darr, President of Harrisburg University.

Darr says he hopes the school will be able to capture a student's interest in STEM careers through its dual enrollment program.

"By and large, they don't have any idea what the possibilities are. And so it's a matter of educating them, and their parents and their friends about what the possibilities are and what a career in those fields means. And how it can be attainable and it's not something that is out of their reach."

Darr says the money will help educate students who may have never considered a career in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Harrisburg University offers many degrees in STEM-related fields, like computer and information services, or nanobiotechnology.

Elizabethtown University has also announced it will offer scholarships for women interested in engineering, thanks to a $531,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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