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OLLU receives $5 million grant for scholarships and research

Jul 18, 2023

OLLU received a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) NextGEN program to help build the next generation of food, agriculture, natural resources and human sciences (FANH) workforce. The award was announced June 21 during a special ceremony held in Washington, D.C.

OLLU will use the $5 million, five-year grant to support “TExAS FAST: Texas Experiential Learning and Scholarship Program for Food and Agriculture Science Training.” The program will begin in fall 2023. Incoming OLLU freshmen majoring or minoring in Environmental Science and Sustainability will have the opportunity to apply for academic scholarships of $5,000 per year, and room and board scholarships of $8619. In addition, they will take part in the new Environmental Science and Sustainability Living Learning Community, summer research projects, and will receive a monthly stipend of $1,000 for 24 months and a paid internship ($4,000) during their senior year.

"I am beyond thrilled to have been awarded this grant," said Dr. Briana Salas, OLLU Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Project Director. “When I created the Environmental Science and Sustainability program in 2021, I did so in response to student interests in human impacts on the environment and a desire for additional options for STEM degrees. The program has been successful in the last two years, but this opportunity will completely transform the student experience.” 

Adam Bynum, OLLU Instructor of Biology, will serve as co-Project Director.

In addition to student scholarships, the grant will fund professional development activities for faculty to revise STEM classes in a CURE format (Classroom based Undergraduate Research Experiences). The CURE format allows students who otherwise might not have the chance to experience “real” research to get those experiences in the classroom setting.

Learn more about the program online.