Fairmont State S-STEM—Bridging the STEM Gap in Appalachia


Students practicing STEM and the National Science Foundation Logo

Fairmont State University was awarded a National Science Foundation S-STEM Track 1 program to improve the educational experience of low-income students in the College of Science and Technology (Sci/Tech), specifically the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Engineering Technology. S-STEM program focuses on increasing enrollment, retention, and graduation of academically talented, low-income STEM students through targeted recruitment activities, scholarships, cohort building, networking, and curricular and co-curricular support. This program offers a student-driven support system for S-STEM students and particular attention from peer and faculty mentors through frequent mentor-advisee meetings to enhance the S-STEM students' learning experience and well-being on campus.

The scholarship is available for 18 exceptional students (three cohorts of six students), and is worth up to $6,250 annually to cover unmet financial needs for qualifying students pursuing a four-year B.S. degree in:

The applications for the 2023-2024 academic year are now closed.

Application Requirements

  • Incoming Freshmen
  • 2.75 Minimum GPA
  • Demonstrated Financial Need (via FAFSA)
  • Complete two assessments online (Information will be sent to you when you indicate your interest in the program)
  • Complete a Field Experience Day on Fairmont State Campus (This event will be in person or virtual based on current Fairmont State COVID-19 protocols).

S-STEM Objectives 

Objective 1: Recruit 18 academically talented students who demonstrate financial need to major in the College of Science and Technology with financial support as S-STEM scholars. 

Objective 2: Improve retention of S-STEM scholars through curricular and co-curricular activities.  We want to retain 88% of scholars (16/18) in the College of Science and Technology from the first to the second year, and graduate at least 72% of scholars (13/18) within four years. 

Objective 3: At least 90% of S-STEM scholar graduates should have a job in their field (including graduate school) within one year of graduation. We would like to see at least 25% of scholars find a job through the connections they make in the S-STEM program. 

Objective 4: Enhance the S-STEM student learning experience by improving faculty mentoring and advising capabilities through student engagement techniques. 

Objective 5: Network with universities, industries, and public schools—especially in Appalachia—to disseminate our challenges and successes. 

S-STEM Personnel

Robert Niichel

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

405 ET


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Abby D. Chapman

Co-Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Occupational Safety

415 ET


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Jojo Joseph

Co-Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

217 HHH


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Steven K. Roof

STEM Administrator

Dean, College of Science & Technology, Professor of Biology

328 HHH / 302 ET


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Tom Cuchta

S-STEM Webmaster

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

423 ET


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