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Biology Major Named Program of Innovation

By Christian Taske ’07

Building on its historic strength in the sciences, Notre Dame College’s Bachelor of Science in Biology has been named a Choose Ohio First STEMM Program of Innovation and been awarded $60,000 a year to fund scholarships.

The Choose Ohio First STEMM Scholarship Program, funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, allows Ohio colleges and universities that have developed innovative academic programs to recruit more students into STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) fields. The funding they receive is used to offer scholarships for those programs to current and potential students.

Biology students accepted into Notre Dame’s Choose Ohio First STEMM Scholarship Program will receive up to $5,200 per academic year. They will be part of a focused learning community that receives personalized opportunities for research, experiential learning and professional mentorship.

“Our program allows our students to have all the experiences they need to be successful in their careers,” says Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Tracey Meilander, who coordinates the Choose Ohio First STEMM Program at NDC. “We will track the progress of each student and focus on tutoring, mentoring, career building and research internships.”

Choose Ohio First
Choose Ohio First

Notre Dame is one of 41 Ohio institutions named to the Choose Ohio First Program of Innovation. The College has enrolled 10 students under the scholarship program for the fall semester. The recipients have to have a cumulative high school GPA of 3.0 or better, declare a major in biology, demonstrate a financial need and be identified with a group that is traditionally underrepresented in STEMM.

Biology is one of the most popular majors at Notre Dame College. Students pursuing research careers can obtain the traditional Bachelor of Science while those interested in teaching biology can obtain a Bachelor of Arts. In addition to its strong laboratory program, the College is partnering with other universities as well as public and private institutions in the region to provide students with opportunities for research and work experience.

Notre Dame’s Career Services Center recently received $40,000 from the Cleveland Foundation’s Fenn Educational Fund to expand its internship program for biology majors. Titled “Linking Talent to Opportunity in Bioscience,” the grant aims raise to awareness of the variety of career paths available to biology students and to meet Northeast Ohio workforce needs.

“This grant will allow us to expose our students to the many viable job opportunities in the bioscience industry right here in Northeast Ohio,” says Kim Lane, director of career services at NDC. “There is a growing need for appropriately educated and trained talent to replace an aging workforce and to meet overall industry growth.”

The Career Services Center has received endorsement for its grant initiatives from several employers including the Cleveland Clinic, Amresco, Sherwin-Williams and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

“These organizations have expressed a desire to work with NDC students, faculty and staff through various avenues including internships, job shadowing, mentoring, career panels and site visits,” Lane says.

The grant will also help tap into resources provided by BioOhio, a non-profit organization designed to build and accelerate bioscience industry, research and education.

“Combined with our liberal arts background, our small class sizes and personal attention, our biology program offers everything our students need to succeed,” Dr. Meilander says. “What we ask of them is to be dedicated to their studies and work collaboratively.”

Dr. Meilander hopes other STEMM majors at the College will be named to the Choose Ohio First Program in the future. “We recognize the College’s history of excellence in the sciences and hope to continue on that path,” she says.

Notre Dame has offered science degrees since its early days. In the 1960s it was the only women’s college in Ohio to offer a major in physics. Since 1978 it offers a binary program in engineering with Case Western Reserve University. Today, the College awards degrees in biology, chemistry, environmental science, math, nursing and psychology.

Over the decades, the College has produced some outstanding graduates who pursued illustrious careers in the sciences. Among them is Dr. Marye Anne Payne Fox ’69, chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, who received the National Medal of Science, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on scientists, engineers and inventors, from President Barack Obama in 2011.

“Our responsibility is to nurture our students and make sure they are the best and brightest they can be when they leave Notre Dame,” Dr. Meilander says.

The Choose Ohio First Scholarship STEMM Program will help students achieve just that.

Select this link for more information on the Choose Ohio First Scholarship STEMM Program at Notre Dame College, or contact Dr. Tracey Meilander at 216.373.5228 or tmeilander@ndc.edu

Christian Taske’07 is the director of print & digital communications at Notre Dame College.