WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Science Foundation awarded a total of $3.8 million to Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire for programs related to science, technology, engineering and math education.
Dartmouth will receive $2.8 million to develop teaching materials to introduce data science — analyzing and making sense of data — into first-year courses in science, technology, engineering and math.
Professor Petra Bonfert-Taylor led the team that wrote the grant. She said she and a group of other professors talked to a group of local companies about what skills they needed in workers. One of the most common needs was for data science, Bonfert-Taylor said.
“More and more data is being collected in literally every area of our lives,” she said. Companies need people who know how to gather data, and how to use data to draw conclusions and make recommendations.
Data science is often taught as its own discipline, somewhat separate from the application of data science, Bonfert-Taylor said. The grant will help Dartmouth professors drop modules of data science into other science and engineering classes.
“Our idea is to really infuse data science into the entire undergrad STEM curriculum, so every student has some exposure,” she said.
The first data science modules will be part of classes in the fall of 2020, she said.
The University of New Hampshire will get almost $1 million for scholarships for students who transfer from Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth to finish bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering or math at the university.
Eligible students will have finished a two-year program at Great Bay Community College, and would start at the University of New Hampshire as juniors.
Over five years, the grant will help pay for 30 students to study at UNH for two years. Students in the program will also get mentoring and “experiential learning” like an internship or a study abroad experience.
The grant program is one of many funded by the National Science Foundation, aimed at helping more low-income students with academic promise earn science, technology, engineering and math degrees.