A new generation of students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical (STEM) fields will be eligible for scholarships at Lorain County Community College, thanks to a grant program announced by Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner on Monday, April 5.
LCCC was awarded a Choose Ohio First grant to support STEM fields. LCCC offers more than 120 STEM-focused majors with a variety of credentials, including associate degrees and certificates, as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees through LCCC’s University Partnership. The grant will provide $776,000 in scholarships over a period of five years.
“Choose Ohio First provides an excellent opportunity for those students who stay in Ohio and continue their education to get the skills they need to succeed in promising career fields,” Chancellor Gardner said. “Lorain County Community College has long been a leader in preparing students for careers in the STEM fields, and this new scholarship will enhance the college’s ongoing efforts.”
LCCC’s partnership with the Choose Ohio First program goes back more than a decade, with the first scholarships awarded to students in 2008. Since that time, hundreds of LCCC students have benefitted from more than a million dollars in Choose Ohio First scholarships.
“Providing students with degrees in STEM fields is critical for the economic growth of Lorain County and the State of Ohio,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “The Choose Ohio First program aligns with LCCC’s missions to provide affordable pathways to degrees related to in-demand fields.”
Choose Ohio First scholarships allow students to access a high-quality STEM education at LCCC – at little or no cost to themselves. For Lorain County students, the STEM pipeline often begins in high school through LCCC’s dual enrollment programs and continues to LCCC and then the University Partnership.
LCCC’s affordable tuition, paired with the Choose Ohio First scholarship made it easy for Bonnie Schmitz to choose LCCC and the University Partnership for her bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from The University of Toledo.
“The Choose Ohio First scholarship has lifted a ton of weight from my shoulders,” said Schmitz, 42, from Avon. “I have a son who is a freshman in college as well, so this scholarship eased a lot of financial burden.”
An Army veteran, Schmitz came to LCCC and the University Partnership to begin a pathway to a new career. She’s found the support and resources she hoped for as non-traditional student.
“I choose LCCC and the UP because it is in my own backyard. I have a family and LCCC helped me reach both goals of a new career and taking care of my family,” she said.
To help students reach their goals, LCCC’s Choose Ohio First scholarship program includes wrap around services, including personalized advising, connections with peers through STEM learning communities, and career experience through work-based learning and internships.
It’s that added support that makes all the difference, said Jacob Lunzar, an 18-year-old from Elyria who is majoring in network communications technologies at LCCC.
“The Choose Ohio First scholarship has encouraged me to stay focused on my goal of working in the technology field by staying connected with my advisor, and allowing me to ask questions about the college and the technology field whenever I need,” Lunzar said.
He aims to work in the networking field and find a rewarding job with a local company.
“LCCC and Choose Ohio First are both pushing me to toward that goal, encouraging me to take this time to study as much as I can in the field, while giving me the opportunity to earn industry credentials.”
For more information about LCCC’s Choose Ohio First scholarships, visit www.lorainccc.edu/stem