Ohio Wesleyan has received a Choose Ohio First grant to support Ohio residents pursuing STEM degrees. The Schimmel/Conrades Science Center is the home of OWU’s science majors. (Photo by Mark Schmitter)

Choose Ohio First

Ohio Wesleyan Receives Grant to Provide STEM Scholarships to New Students

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University has received a five-year, $830,466 Choose Ohio First grant to fund scholarships for Ohio residents pursuing degrees in the STEM fields of science (including medicine), technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The State of Ohio and Ohio Department of Higher Education announced Ohio Wesleyan’s grant today. The Choose Ohio First (COF) grants are part of a state initiative designed to “help create the talent needed to make Ohio’s businesses competitive in the 21st century knowledge economy.”

“Ohio Wesleyan is honored to be recognized for its role in helping to build a stronger Ohio through our faculty’s work to educate students in critical STEM fields,” said Ohio Wesleyan President Rock Jones, Ph.D., noting that was the first time OWU had applied for COF grant funding.

“We believe a strong liberal arts education prepares STEM students to work successfully toward the betterment of society and builds a foundation for a strong and stable economy,” Jones said. “Our Choose Ohio First grant will create positive ripples that benefit Ohio for years to come.”

Ohio Wesleyan will begin awarding the COF funds this fall to selected students enrolling in one of 13 academic areas and 29 STEM-related majors. In addition to four-year renewable scholarships, the student-recipients also will receive comprehensive career and support services as well as guaranteed internship and research opportunities.

Many Ohio Wesleyan STEM graduates will go on to complete advanced degrees, and their OWU educations will serve them well, said Stefanie Niles, Ed.D., Ohio Wesleyan’s vice president for enrollment and communications.

“Ohio Wesleyan ranks No. 68 among all U.S. colleges, both public and private, for the percentage of STEM graduates who go on to earn a Ph.D. in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Niles said. “OWU also ranks No. 46 for women who go on to earn doctorates and No. 21 for women who earn doctorates in either biological or life sciences.”

These rankings, issued in 2019 by the Council of Independent Colleges, are based on data from the National Science Foundation, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, and Survey of Earned Doctorates.

Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said Ohio Wesleyan’s Choose Ohio First grant will help the university continue its success in preparing students to earn advanced degrees.

“Choose Ohio First provides an excellent opportunity for those students who stay in Ohio and continue their education to get the skills they need to succeed in promising career fields,” Gardner said. “This new scholarship will help Ohio Wesleyan University continue to be one of the nation’s leading producers of STEM graduates who go on to earn their Ph.D.”

Ohio Wesleyan was one of 57 Ohio colleges and universities earning COF grants this year, according to the Ohio Department of Higher Education. Including today’s grants, the COF program supports an estimated 6,400 Ohio college students of all ages. Learn more about the Choose Ohio First grant program at www.ohiohighered.org/cof.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s STEM-related majors, enrolling at the university, and scholarship opportunities at owu.edu/admission.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more undergraduate majors than many universities its size and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, The OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at owu.edu.