NOVA Awarded $1.5M From the National Science Foundation to Provide Equitable and Impactful Engineering Scholarships

September 26, 2022

Under the leadership of the Office of Academic Affairs and the engineering discipline, NOVA has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The funded project, “NOVA CORE: A Holistic Approach to Build Up a Diverse Community of Rising Engineers,” will provide full-tuition scholarships for up to two years for up to 40 students annually over the next five years. This significant opportunity is especially geared toward under-represented students in the engineering field–minorities, women, first-generation college students and veterans. These grant-funded scholarships will allow participants to focus on their studies full time while developing the valuable skills needed to successfully complete their degrees at NOVA and transfer to four-year institutions.

“This is an amazing opportunity for NOVA’s engineering students. And the College will make a significant difference in the region’s engineering workforce by actively promoting diversity in the field,” said Dr. Eun-Woo Chang, chief academic officer and vice president of academic affairs at NOVA. “We encourage students to explore this opportunity to get their start in an in-demand, family-sustaining career.”

Each year, approximately 1,600 students are enrolled in engineering courses at NOVA. About 200 students each year earn their associates degree in engineering, representing 2.5% of NOVA’s graduates, collegewide. The demand for engineering graduates in the region continues to grow.

In addition to increasing the number of engineering grads, NOVA CORE is expected to increase diversity in the engineering workforce in the region. The project will recruit incoming students from the dual-enrollment program as well as first-year engineering students. Project objectives are to provide scholarships and academic support to NOVA engineering students who show financial need, recruit a minimum of 50% of students from underrepresented minority groups or women, retain and graduate/transfer at least 80% of these students and serve as a model for cohesive advising and scheduling for engineering and STEM students at other large, multi-campus, two-year institutions. High-impact projects and activities will provide students with academic support, advising, community building and experiential learning opportunities. 

Led by Dr. Chang, the grant will also be managed by a principal investigator, David Lin, professor of engineering, with collaboration from Nina Lord, professor of engineering; Rodolfo Napisa, professor of engineering and Mihaela Chamberlin, professor of chemistry.

The National Science Foundation’s (NSF)  S-STEM program seeks to increase the number of low-income, academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation and academic/career pathways for low-income students.

Social mobility for low-income students with academic potential is even more crucial than for students that enjoy other economic support structures. Hence, social mobility cannot be guaranteed unless the scholarship funds the pursuit of degrees in areas where rewarding jobs are available after graduation with an undergraduate or graduate degree.

For more information on the NSF S-STEM grant, please contact Professor David Lin, For media inquiries, please contact Hoang Nguyen, associate director of external communications at

Topics: press release