The university is offering two new scholarships this quarter for first-generation college students: the UCSB-specific Enhanced Support, Training and Experiences for Engineering Majors program and the Council for International Education and Exchange’s grant to expand study abroad opportunities.
The ESTEEM scholarships range from $2,000 to $9,500 for first-generation students with financial need working toward undergraduate degrees in engineering. Additionally, the CIEE — a nonprofit, nongovernmental international exchange organization — established a $25,000 scholarship in honor of communication professor Michael Stohl that helps economically disadvantaged first-generation and nontraditional students gain access to study abroad and international research programs.
According to chemical engineering, chemistry and biochemistry professor Susanna Scott, ESTEEM’s principal investigator, the National Science Foundation promised enough funding to sustain the program for five years.
“We have $525,000 in scholarship funds to distribute over the five years,” Scott said in an email. “We expect to appoint about forty ESTEEM scholars during the program.”
In addition to financial aid, scholarship recipients will receive access to career development benefits, Scott said.
“The ESTEEM Scholars will have their own meeting room and grad student tutors,” Scott said. “They will have networking meetings with engineering professionals, and we will help them to find engineering internships. We also have some funding for the scholars to attend professional meetings.”
Scott said the idea for this multifaceted scholarship was the product of discussion with Phyllis Brady, last year’s acting director of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement program, which mentors students of all ages to increase their educational opportunities.
“I hope that these scholarships will relieve some of the financial pressure on students so that they can focus on their university studies and complete their degrees on time,” Scott said. “The weak state economy and the rising tuition have made paying for a university education even harder for many students.”
Although the ESTEEM program is only open to UCSB students, Stohl scholars — the title for CIEE scholarship recipients — will be drawn from an international pool of applicants. UC students will remain central benefactors, according to Stohl.
“Almost all the students who study abroad on these programs are from the U.S., including EAP students on the programs in Critical Studies in Paris, Botswana, Russia, Senegal and Tanzania,” Stohl said. “For U.S. students, faculty and administrators, CIEE offers programs including study abroad — on which more than 5,000 U.S. students study abroad each year — teach abroad and faculty development seminars.”
Stohl served on the CIEE Board of Directors from 1995 to 2011 and served as its chair between 2004 and 2010.
First-year undeclared major Selene Diaz said the program could help her realize her goal of studying abroad next year.
“I’m really just appreciative and excited that there is a scholarship that will help first-generation college students like me pay for my interest in studying abroad,” Selene said. “I feel like studying abroad is important not only because of the new sights, but how it will expand our views of the world.”