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Gannon's School of Engineering and Computing Awarded Nearly $1.5 Million by the National Science Foundation

Published: 11/11/2022

Students in the SEECS program at Gannon presented their research at ASEE North Central Section Conference Presentation.

Students in the SEECS program at Gannon presented their research at ASEE North Central Section Conference Presentation.

Gannon’s School of Engineering and Computing was awarded $1,499,998 from the National Science Foundation to support and increase the number of academically talented students with demonstrated financial need – especially women – enrolling in and graduating from Gannon’s engineering programs. 

These funds will support 25 undergraduate students per year for five years beginning in January 2023 through December 2028. Each recipient can be awarded up to $7,000 per year, renewable for up to four years, depending on the awardee’s unmet financial needs. 

This is the fourth NSF research and development award of this type that the university has received, with others awarded in 2008, 2012 and 2017. 

“I am so proud to now be a part of four awards that Gannon has received from the National Science Foundation, as a faculty member and now as dean of the college,” said Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Engineering and Business. “These funds have created meaningful scholarships that have empowered 70 students, especially those from underrepresented populations, who may have otherwise not been able to graduate from Gannon University through the Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computing Studies program. The opportunities provided through the NSF award and the SEECS program is a win-win for our programs and the community as students and professors partner on research and projects to create solutions for local and regional challenges across a variety of sectors.”

The NSF funded project, titled “Pathway for continuing success: Scholars of Excellence in Engineering and Computing Studies (SEECS),” will support full-time students in majors including biomedical engineering, electrical engineering, environmental engineering, industrial and robotics engineering, mechanical engineering, and software engineering.

Scholarship recipients will engage in the SEECS program by participating in community-based engineering design projects, one-on-one mentoring as well as professional and personal enrichment sessions. Student projects and research have created engagement within the Erie community and focused on topics such as renewable energy, artifact preservation, medical sterilizers and more. The goal of the program is to assist students with continuing their STEM education through graduation through scholarships and rigorous academic support as they foster professional development and prepare to enter careers in STEM fields and/or graduate education.  

Gannon professors Scott Steinbrink, Ph.D.; Lin Zhao, Ph.D.; Saeed Tiari, Ph.D.; and Varun Kasaraneni, Ph.D., will lead the students in this program. 

In the proposal to the NSF, the Gannon professors noted that engineering employment across these targeted disciples is expected to grow across the nation by 9.8% on average over 2020-2030. Similar steady growth is projected across the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, Ohio and New York. That need is witnessed locally as competitive pressures and advancing technology are forcing companies to optimize their manufacturing processes. Gannon’s longstanding reputation in engineering and computing has led to notable partnerships with local and regional companies for internships and career placement, such as Wabtec, Parker LORD Corporation, Eriez Manufacturing, and Shriners Hospital for Children. 

“We are excited to continue to offer this scholarship to our students of engineering and computing studies,” said Steinbrink. “It is this type of financial support that allows Gannon to live its Mission in making a high-quality education accessible to all students. Through these scholarships paired with Gannon’s small class sizes, personal attention from faculty and the ability to begin meaningful research and projects as early as a student’s first year, we are able to share our advantages of being a smaller, private institution with a larger number of potential students and, ultimately, the future leaders of our engineering and computing industries.”  

Students interested in applying to the eligible programs beginning Spring 2023 will be considered for scholarships. The due date to apply for the scholarships is March 1. Visit for award criteria and how to apply.

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