NIU gets $2 million grant


Gavin Weaver | Northern Star Betty Corn’s Math 110 students take notes in Montgomery Auditorium Wednesday afternoon.

By Drew Veskauf

For the next five years, NIU will be the recipient of a $2 million grant provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The initiative is planned to expand studies within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) majors and to support the student experience while studying under these majors.

The grant will be used to start off NIU’s Providing Resources and Opportunities to Maximize Interest in STEM Education (PROMISE) initiative. PROMISE focuses on freshmen and sophomores who are undecided majors or those who have started their education in a STEM major, according to a press release.

A proposal was submitted in fall 2010, and NIU was one of 18 chosen out of 200 submissions.

The idea was conceptualized through the CHANCE program, but more departments are involved with the overall function of the initiative, said CHANCE director Denise Hayman.

The initiative is a collaboration between CHANCE, the College of Engineering and Engineering Technologies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the academic advising center and career services, Hayman said.

Hayman said with an increasingly competitive global market, different steps are being taken to keep the United States in the area, and the STEM grant is just one of them.

“We want to remain competitive,” Hayman said. “We’re all working towards one goal.”

The U.S.’s ranking dropped from 3rd to 14th in science and engineering, Hayman said.

Promod Vohra, dean of College of Engineering, said he is proud to see NIU was selected to receive the grants so students will have a better opportunity at competing internationally.

“I feel this country needs innovation,” Vohra said.