Ten high-achieving high school seniors from under-served mountain or rural counties, or the inner city, are about to experience a Science education at Georgetown College they could only dream about. But, the Feb. 1, 2010 deadline for applications is approaching fast.Thanks to a major grant from the National Science Foundation, Georgetown College will award ten SCALAR (SCientific-Aptitude-Leads-to-Achievement-in-Research-and-Service) Scholarships to aspiring science students who will matriculate in the Fall of 2010. These are four-year awards in the amount of $10,000 per year for four years. 

“We are excited that these scholarships will help reduce the 10 students’ loans to very close to zero so that they can focus solely on their academics,” said Dr. Christine Leverenz, SCALARS Program Director. “Having to worry about paying loans back has always been a huge burden on needy students and their parents.”

The SCALARS Program at Georgetown College provides an opportunity for students to contemplate freely the full range of career options in math and science. Additional scholarship aid, a summer preparation course, honors courses, faculty mentoring, undergraduate research experiences, and special extracurricular activities enhance the SCALAR student’s academic experience. The program also endeavors to broaden the students’ understanding of a scientific vocation through volunteer service in the local community that draws upon their academic gifts and through opportunities to reflect upon these experiences. This program is designed for students from populations typically under-represented in the sciences including rural and Appalachian students and minority students.

“Georgetown College has a great track record for mentoring students who come from families where college hasn’t been a traditional path,” said Leverenz, Chair of the Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science department.

She added: “This program is designed to support students who might otherwise not consider the sciences because of the heavy academic load and the difficulties in adjusting to college expectations. There is faculty mentoring, but we have designed the program so that the students also mentor each other and can form life-supporting friendships. We know the talents these students bring to campus will encourage greater aspirations in each other, the science faculty, and in other students. ”
Among the pre-requisites for applying for the SCALARS Scholarship, a student must intend to graduate with a major in one of the sciences or Physics, have an un-weighted high school GPA of 3.8 or higher, score 25 or higher in the mathematics portion of the ACT and have strong academic potential, and demonstrate financial need.

The expectations for the SCALARS Scholar include a special Orientation Retreat and Bridge Course in the summer prior to the first semester at Georgetown and, on the other end, writing a Senior Thesis in your major as part of the Honors Program. In between are numerous exciting opportunities such as travel, social events and other extracurricular activities throughout each academic year, two summers of undergraduate research experiences, and community service projects that allow Scholars to put their academic gifts to work for the common good.

“I believe this program will help us enrich our overall campus culture,” said Dr. Rosemary Allen, Provost. “When you bring in students who have traditionally not had access to the college environment, you bring in fresh perspectives on the college experience. I hope it will teach us all to value the opportunity represented in higher education.”

Allen added: “I am glad that the program will help us showcase one of our institution’s strengths—the capacity to provide mentorship and personal attention to those who may feel intimidated by the challenges of college and the unknown.”