BMS Graduate Program receives STEM Fellows Program funding for an 8th year

Diana R. Maue, SRIMS, Graduate Recruitment, and Communication Coordinator, completes a busy fall season of attending recruitment fairs throughout the region…

Graduate students and professors gather at the beginning of a new school year to share a meal and enjoy the outdoors…

A Ph.D. student who receives a stipend from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program attends a national conference for the first time to disseminate her research to her peers…

All of the above opportunities are made possible thanks to the STEM Fellows Program, awarded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. According to Dr. Richard Niles, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, nearly every aspect of the Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program at Marshall University has been impacted by this grant. This year, the BMS Graduate Program has been approved to receive its eighth year of funding from the STEM Fellows Program.

According to Dr. Niles, “This funding is a huge help to our program. If it went away, it would make a big hole that would be difficult to recover from. We are excited about the continuation of the funding.”

Mrs. Maue’s ability to travel and spread the word about the BMS program is almost exclusively funded by this grant. Among the places she was able to visit this year were the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, Morehead State University, Wheeling Jesuit University, West Liberty University, Waynesburg University, Bethany College, and Franciscan University of Steubenville. Events such as the yearly BMS Graduate Program picnic honoring incoming students and the upcoming luncheon honoring WV Undergraduate Research Day participants are also made possible by this grant funding. Finally, many of the Ph.D. students who receive a stipend are funded by this grant. Without the funding, the BMS Graduate Program would be forced to admit fewer students.

According to Mrs. Maue, the program helps the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program to help build the quality of its offerings and the number of graduate students that it can fund. “It has dramatically increased our recruiting efforts,” she says. “We couldn’t serve our students in all the ways we currently do or develop the program in the ways that we are without this grant.” The BMS Graduate Program initially received STEM Fellows Program funding in 2004 after completing a competitive grant application process. In that year, the Division of Science and Research of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission began offering this competitively-funded award to Marshall University and West Virginia University to help them recruit and fund exceptional graduate students in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) disciplines. The funding is granted for four years, with participants reporting each year on how they have applied the funding in order to ensure its continuation. While West Virginia University focuses this award on its post-doctoral students, Marshall University applies its funding to growing its graduate program offerings.

In 2008, Marshall completed a competitive reapplication for the funding, which was granted for an additional four years. In 2012, the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program has been approved to receive the final year of funding of this award. The reapplication process for the next competitively-funded grant will begin as soon as a new request for proposals is received, presumably this summer.

Dr. Niles and Mrs. Lisa Daniels, Grants Officer for the BMS Graduate Program, have been instrumental in ensuring the continuation of this funding, and the program thanks them for making participation in this program possible.