SF State News {University Communications}

Image: Photos of SF State students and scenes from around campus

New NSF-funded engineering scholarships

April 21, 2009 -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a four-year grant totaling $598,840 to the University's School of Engineering, the largest in the School's history. The funding will provide 35 scholarships per year to undergraduate students of civil, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, and augment mentoring and professional networking programs.

Photo of engineering students assembling a steel bridge as other student look on.

Engineering students assemble a steel bridge of their own design.

According to Wenshen Pong, professor and acting director of the school, the funding comes at a crucial time. "Current projections show that by 2014, California will have a shortage of 40,000 engineers," he said. "In addition, the President's stimulus package, which calls for improved infrastructure and alternative energy sources, will increase the demand for skilled engineers across the country."

The scholarships are aimed at alleviating the need for recipients to work, which often extends the time it takes to earn a degree. A 2008 student survey showed that 50 percent of SF State undergraduate engineering students worked at least 20 hours per week to help finance their education. The School also hopes that the scholarships will increase interest in engineering, especially among underserved groups. Pong expects that this will help to increase the diversity of professionals in the field.

The first of the scholarships will be awarded to engineering majors beginning with the Spring 2010 semester.

The scholarships also will be utilized as a recruitment tool. "This is an excellent opportunity to attract top students," said Sheldon Axler, dean of the College of Science and Engineering. "The scholarships will boost SF State's reputation as an exciting engineering school choice."

The grant was issued from the National Science Foundation's S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program. It targets academically talented, financially needy students, with the purpose of helping them enter the workforce following completion of a degree in science and engineering disciplines.

Students interested in applying for the scholarship should contact the School of Engineering at (415) 338-1174 or engineer@sfsu.edu


-- Denize Springer


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