Lake Erie College Awarded $1.5 Million Choose Ohio First Grant

The grant will support under-represented students in STEM.

The state of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Higher Education announced Monday, April 4, that Lake Erie College has been awarded a Choose Ohio First grant totaling $1.5 million to support under-represented students in the critical fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEM). Lake Erie College is receiving its first ever Choose Ohio First award as part of its effort to recruit talented STEM students and retain them as employees in Ohio through its newly implemented LEC COF Scholars program. Lake Erie College received the maximum grant possible under the Choose Ohio First program.”

The Choose Ohio First program began in 2008 as a way to increase the number of Ohio residents successfully completing STEM majors at Ohio’s public and private colleges and universities. Universities and Colleges are vital engines for workforce vitality in the state, and the Choose Ohio First program provides support that will advance the economic growth of each region in the state. Designated Choose Ohio First programs are integrated with regional economies, meeting statewide educational needs, facilitating the completion of baccalaureate degrees in cost-effective manners and recruiting underrepresented STEM student groups, including women and students of color.

Dr. Johnathan Tedesco, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, PI on the grant, and LEC COF Program Director says “I know I speak on behalf of all of us at Lake Erie College in expressing gratitude for the recognition and collaboration with the Department of Higher Education to better serve our regional STEM students. I am excited to implement our program and be a positive contributor to making STEM careers accessible, diverse, and desirable here in Northeast Ohio.”

“Choose Ohio First continues to grow because of schools like Lake Erie College that see the benefits of preparing students who stay in Ohio to continue their education for success in promising STEM careers," said Chancellor Randy Gardner. “I’m excited that Lake Erie College has committed to supporting students with this important scholarship program.”

Lake Erie College will receive a total of $1.5 million dollars in Choose Ohio First funds that will be used solely to fund scholarships over the next five years. In addition to receiving scholarships, students enrolling in the LEC COF Scholars program will be eligible for LEC’s reserved seats in various medical programs, including its highly competitive Masters in Physician Assistant Studies (MS-PAS) program.

“We are fundamentally committed to providing access to higher education and the opportunities that come with baccalaureate and higher degrees, so we intend to minimize the financial burden on our LEC COF Scholars,” Tedesco continued, “I never want to see a student bypass such opportunities as a result of financial barriers.”

“It is an exciting day for Lake Erie College. I am so incredibly proud of Dr. Tedesco and the other faculty members who have worked so hard to make this possible, and I am grateful to Ohio’s Department of Education for allowing us the opportunity to further attract qualified STEM students to the College,” said Lake Erie College President, Brian Posler, Ph.D.

With the new grant, the College plans to continue to build on the strength of current STEM programs including: biology, chemistry, environmental sciences, math and it’s Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies program. A key goal of the Choose Ohio First program at Lake Erie College is to retain its credentialed graduates by connecting them to full-time employment in Ohio via work-based learning experiences and internships. Lake Erie College implements college-wide career exploration services and aims for participation of all students in work-based learning experiences, such as internships with the College’s many business partners. Lake Erie College prepares graduates for in-demand jobs in many occupation groups that are predicted to have substantial growth and need in Ohio. In addition, LEC COF Scholars will participate in journal clubs, have scholar study support teams, mentoring and career coaching, and other unique opportunities at LEC.

Tedesco concluded that “Our goal for all LEC COF Scholars is not only earning an undergraduate degree, but forging pathways to graduate programs and/or successful careers in Ohio. We will do it one student at a time and make sure that we are directing every possible resource towards student success.”

For more information about the Choose Ohio First program at Lake Erie College, contact Dr. Tedesco at

Johnathan Tedesco, Ph.D.

Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Associate Professor of Chemistry

1 (440) 375-7352

Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Austin Hall 302