South Plains STEM Scholars
The South Plains STEM Scholars (SPSS) program provides financial and mentorship opportunities for rural students of the Southern High and Rolling Plains of Texas, eastern New Mexico and southern Oklahoma who are interested in STEM fields at Texas Tech (specifically biology, physics, math, geosciences, and chemistry). There are many financial challenges associated with pursuing higher education, and to assist with tuition, the program offers students up to $5,000 tuition assistance annually.
The program aims to help students succeed in and outside of the classroom. Upon admission, students will gain essential access to STEM faculty who will engage them in rural-related research and internship opportunities, and students will develop learning communities through seminars and service-learning projects geared toward rural communities.
SPSS faculty mentors are dedicated to helping students thrive during their time at Texas Tech, to learning from and with students from rural backgrounds, and to encouraging students to consider the ways in which they can contribute their STEM knowledge back to their rural communities.
- The STEM Scholars program will accept and fund approximately 40 undergraduate students from rural communities across the South Plains region each year. Accepted students will be eligible to receive up to $5,000 per year in scholarship support.
- Each cohort will form a learning community, and students will frequently take foundational courses in math, research, and writing with fellow group members.
- Students accepted in the STEM Scholars program will receive one-on-one guidance from faculty mentors and will work closely with their mentors to develop connections between their STEM interests and potential rural opportunities.
- STEM Scholar faculty will provide enriching opportunities for rural-related research and internship experiences, with the goal of connecting STEM study to rural life, work, and community.
- Students in the STEM Scholars program will attend seminars focused on the future of rural America. Seminars will include a variety of topics from the complexity of rural life to how to engage in STEM work in rural settings.
- The STEM Scholars program will encourage students to conduct service-learning projects in rural communities. The program emphasizes students' knowledge about rural life and their ability to significantly contribute to the places in which they call home.
The program directors in the STEM Scholars program have significant interest in rural communities in the South Plains region and the ways in which STEM Scholars can serve as a connection between STEM fields and rural life. Faculty mentors represent the five STEM fields (biology, physics, math, geosciences, and chemistry) and are dedicated to researching, teaching, and mentoring STEM Scholars in and outside of the classroom.