The State of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Higher Education recently announced Lake Erie College has been awarded $839,999.94 in newly approved Choose Ohio First (COF) grants as part of its efforts to recruit talented STEM students and retain them as employees in Ohio through its LEC COF Scholars program.
“The success and ongoing support of the Choose Ohio First program means more Lake Erie College students have an excellent opportunity to prepare for a successful STEM career,” Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner said. “This latest award will benefit many talented Lake Erie College students in the natural sciences, healthcare, mathematics, and veterinary fields.
This is the second grant received by the College through the Choose Ohio First program. In April 2022, Lake Erie College was awarded its first 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) and was the maximum grant amount possible to receive that year under the Choose Ohio First Program. The funding supported scholarships, community engagement activities, and opportunities unique for STEM scholars including experiential learning and work opportunities, mentorship training and service as peer leaders, and academic support.
“We are grateful to Chancellor Gardner and the entire Choose Ohio First team for the continued support of our Choose Ohio First program. This additional funding serves as a strong validation for the STEM Scholars program we established through last year’s grant and the need to provide opportunities for under-represented populations in STEM,” says Dr. Johnathan Tedesco, Dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and LEC COF Program Director. “While the focus of our grant is Hispanic representation and women in STEM, we remain committed to improving the representation of our diverse region in high-need STEM areas to better align with our local and regional population demographics”
This new COF grant allows Lake Erie College to expand educational pathways to include equine and education majors while continuing to provide unique experiences for traditional STEM, pre-medical, and pre-veterinary students, as well as guaranteed seats in several medical graduate programs.
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 strength 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.