National Science Foundation grant to fund scholarship program for nontraditional students

Friday, December 18, 2009


HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Elizabeth Murray of Marshall University’s Department of Integrated Science and Technology (IST) has been awarded a four-year $586,500 grant to develop a scholarship program for nontraditional students at the university and the Marshall Community and Technology College (MCTC).

According to Murray, the grant from the National Science Foundation will underwrite a Trailblazer Scholars program for nontraditional students who have dependents and are interested in pursuing a degree in the fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Murray’s co-investigators in the project include, at Marshall, Dr. James Leonard of the Geography Department; Brian Morgan of IST; Dr. Patricia Logan of the College of Information Technology and Engineering; and at MCTC, Dr. Randall Jones of the Information Technology program and Dr. Jason Black of the Bioscience program.

Beginning in the fall 2010 semester, full scholarships (up to $8,500 above and beyond Pell Grant or other government financial assistance) will be awarded to at least 15 students. In addition to being responsible for dependents, applicants to the Trailblazer Scholars program must have a track record of academic accomplishments at the high school and/or college level and demonstrate financial need.

“The program is being designed for smart, motivated nontraditional students who are unemployed or employed in low-wage, unskilled jobs with no real room for advancement,” said Murray. “If they are eager for a challenge, we will help them succeed and earn a degree in a high-tech field at either Marshall University or MCTC.”

In addition to financial assistance, other support, including mentoring and enrichment programs, will be provided to increase the likelihood scholarship recipients will be successful in the program.

She added, “Not only will this program improve educational opportunities and student services for nontraditional students at both Marshall and MCTC, and build a stronger relationship between the two institutions, but it will also help expand the technical and science-based workforce in the region. That is important if we are going to improve the economic climate in our communities.”

Students interested in applying for the Trailblazer Scholars program should contact either Murray at or 304-696-3515 or Black at or 304-696-3889.


Contact:  Ginny Painter, Communications Director, Marshall University Research Corporation, 304.746.1964

  MU eyes nontraditional students for scholarships [Charleston Gazette, December 28, 2009]