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updated: 5/31/2013 9:51 AM

Elmhurst College wins grant to boost math, science students

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Daily Herald news services

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $448,875 grant to Elmhurst College to fund the Keystone Project, an innovative program that will support and encourage students who are studying in the STEM fields.

The Keystone (Keys to Success Through Year One) Project will include new STEM-related first-year seminar courses, research-based January Term experiences, special "STEMinars" to introduce students to career options in STEM fields, and summer research opportunities that will engage students throughout their entire academic career. The project's courses and experiences will be designed so that they can be adopted by other institutions.

"The jump from high school to college in math and science courses can be a big one, and some students are not prepared for the level of work they'll have to do," said Jon Johnson, an Elmhurst mathematics professor and principal investigator on the project,. "These programs are designed to help students make that transition and succeed in STEM-related majors."

With programs like Keystone, Elmhurst College aims to increase the number of its graduates in biology, chemistry, computer science, exercise science, mathematics, physics and cognitive psychology by 36 percent. The project will begin in full with the start of the next academic year in August, and will run for five years. Johnson said that he hopes to enroll about 114 first-year students in the Keystone Project.

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