LEC granted $1.2M gift for STEM Scholars Program

The State of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Higher Education announced Monday, November 13, that Lake Erie College has been awarded a Choose Ohio First grant totaling $1.2 million to support underrepresented students in the critical fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEM).

The Choose Ohio First Scholarship is an impactful scholarship program that is designed to strengthen Ohio’s competitiveness within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Choose Ohio First is part of a strategic effort to encourage Ohio’s economic strength by ensuring a ready workforce for STEM-related industries.

Lake Erie College’s ethos of personalized service and attention underscores the work with each student. Dr. Johnathan Tedesco, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and associate professor of chemistry, serves as the primary point of contact for students, and supportive staff in admission, marketing, financial aid, academic services, and career development. Together, these faculty and staff leaders form an advisory work group that convene to assess, inform, and improve our student’s academic and co-curricular experiences as well as our program outcomes.

"The Choose Ohio First program has significantly strengthened Ohio’s competitiveness within STEM disciplines, and our campuses, including Lake Erie College, have done an excellent job of preparing their STEM scholars for success," said Chancellor Randy Gardner. "I applaud Lake Erie College for being among this latest group of awardees." When Lake Erie College first received a Choose Ohio First grant it was one of the largest awarded that year to four-year institutions in the state of Ohio totaling $1.5 million. The award bolstered the College’s STEM degrees and STEM Scholars Program. Since 2022, the College has received two additional grants from Choose Ohio First, bringing the grand total to $3.6 million dollars.

Tedesco remarked, "We extend our gratitude to Chancellor Gardner and the entire Choose Ohio First team for their ongoing and additional support of our program. This extra funding not only validates the success of the STEM Scholars program at Lake Erie College, but also underscores the crucial need to create opportunities for underrepresented populations in STEM. Although our initial grant focused on enhancing Hispanic representation and promoting Women in STEM, our commitment remains unwavering in improving the representation of our diverse region in high-demand STEM fields, aligning with the demographics of our local and regional population."

Lake Erie College's innovative STEM programs provide work-based learning experiences to students desiring a certificate, associate degree, baccalaureate degree, or graduate degree in eligible STEM fields or to students who want to become STEM teachers. The economy in Ohio is diverse, with robust healthcare, bioscience, and technology sectors, and nearby Cleveland institutions and corporations are in need of STEM graduates.

Eligibility for a scholarship requires being a resident of Ohio seeking a certificate, associate degree, bachelor’s degree or graduate degree in an eligible STEM discipline, enrolled at a participating college or university, and students who are new to the program of study at the college or university, i.e., currently enrolled in a non-STEM program who decide to transfer/change majors into a STEM program.

Lake Erie College is committed to integration with regional economies and meeting statewide educational needs including recruiting underrepresented STEM student groups including women and students of color. Choose Ohio First funds higher education and business collaborations that will have the most impact on Ohio’s position in world markets such as aerospace, medicine, and information technology.

For more information about the Choose Ohio First program at Lake Erie College, contact Dr. Johnathan Tedesco at jtedesco@lec.edu. Learn more about Lake Erie College STEM-related majors, scholarship opportunities, and enrolling at the college by visiting the Lake Erie College website at lec.edu/admission.


Lake Erie College, founded in 1856, provides an excellent, inclusive, and highly personalized education grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Guided by hope and care, our students are empowered to lead lives of personal significance and professional success as global citizens. We offer 35 undergraduate majors and master’s programs in business administration, professional studies, education, and physician assistant studies. Our students compete in 19 NCAA Division II varsity sports and on three intercollegiate equestrian teams.