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North Park STEM Scholars Cohort

The National Science Foundation Grant

To prepare students to meet the nation’s need for well-educated scientists, engineers, and technicians, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded North Park University with a $650,000 grant. Select incoming freshman being admitted to and entering the university during the fall 2020 academic year have the opportunity to be part of a hands-on experiential learning STEM cohort.

The grant will fund:

  • 20 students each with $5k per year for four years; maximum per student $20k over the four-year period
  • Two cohorts of 10 students; 20 students total
  • Grant recipients pursuing physics/engineering or biology undergraduate degrees
  • STEM-focused, urban industry immersion program

Program Highlights

  • Undergraduate research
  • Internships
  • Urban-industry experiential immersion opportunities
  • STEM cohort learning structure
  • Job readiness development in science and engineering
  • Dedicated faculty guidance
  • State-of-the-art science facilities

Stem Immersion Through Catalyst Program

Faculty facilitate strong connections within the STEM industry, creating pathways for students to develop practical and in-demand skills.

Home to incubators for biotech and large pharmaceutical companies, Chicago is the ideal backdrop for North Park’s city-based innovative Catalyst experiential curriculum which includes:

  • Twice-monthly industry site visits: demonstrations of industry techniques, office tours, networking, applied problem solving activities
  • Engagement with employers on-campus: lectures, job skills training, career planning and reflections
  • Research collaboration with industry partners
  • Preparation to launch successful STEM careers
  • Formal mentoring
  • Daily informal interactions centered around technical, career, or life topics.

Faculty Leads

Dr. Stephen Ray spearheaded the NSF grant along with fellow faculty members instrumental in winning the NSF grant. The following faculty members will be guiding and supporting the STEM Scholars Cohort throughout the program. North Park’s talented and interdisciplinary team spans hands-on research and teaching careers in Biology, Psychology, Physics and Engineering, and Chemistry.

Principal Investigator
Dr. George Quainoo

Co-principal Investigators
Dr. Yoojin Choi
Dr. Elizabeth Gray
Dr. Sunshine Silver

Industry Partners

The NSF grant fosters strong connections with industry, directly creating pathways for future careers.

Our industry partners include but are not limited to:

  • ComEd
  • Northrop Grumman
  • SOM
  • Argonne National Lab
  • GI Supply
  • SIM Solutions
  • IA Collaborative
  • MC Machinery Systems

State-of-the-art STEM Facility and Labs

On-campus STEM courses are held at the Nancy and G. Timothy Johnson Center for Science and Community Life offering:

  • 16 Smart classrooms equipped with HDTVs, interactive screens, writable podiums, lecture capture, and wireless display capabilities
  • 10 modern laboratories for Biology, Chemistry, and Physics including molecular genetics, zoology, microscopy, electronics, 3D-Printer, and laser spectroscopy
  • Interactive Smart lab technology interfacing with equipment at each student’s bench
  • Dedicated spaces for faculty/student collaborative research
  • Cadaver lab
  • Lab management program with emphasis on safety run by trained professionals
  • Chemistry instrument lab including a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer, used in determining molecular structures

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