Stevens Institute of Technology Awarded NSF Grant to Attract Liberal Arts Graduates into the Software Engineering Field

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $632,000 scholarship grant to Stevens Institute of Technology to help fund liberal arts graduates in the software engineering (SwE) master’s degree program.

This can be a transformative program that gives U.S. citizens, who are potentially under or un-employed with existing student debt, the opportunity to compete for highly rewarding, high-impact STEM jobs, benefiting the U.S. economy and U.S. society.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $632,000 scholarship grant to Stevens Institute of Technology to help fund liberal arts graduates in the software engineering (SwE) master’s degree program.

Supported by the $632,000 grant, this innovative program will consist of 10 required courses, a summer bridge component, an internship and a part-time option for the final semester that allows students to work full -time while attending classes in the evening. It is set to launch in time for the Fall 2015 semester.

The program aims to help broaden access into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professions by creating another pathway specifically for talented liberal arts graduates who are adept in technology. In addition, the program enhances overall opportunities for students as STEM knowledge and skills are in increasingly high demand throughout the job marketplace.    

“This can be a transformative program that gives U.S. citizens, who are potentially under or un-employed with existing student debt, the opportunity to compete for highly rewarding, high-impact STEM jobs, which will benefit the U.S. economy and U.S. society,” said Professor Linda Laird, software engineering program director at the School of Systems and Enterprises (SSE) at Stevens. “In addition, this program answers the national call for more homegrown scientists and engineers.”

Professor Laird believes that this grant will have the added benefit of diversifying the field by bringing in individuals who come from non-traditional science and engineering backgrounds to software engineering settings.

"Consistent with recommendations from the National Science Board, the School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology is proud to partner with NSF to help realize the national priority to broaden participation in STEM fields for enhanced national competitiveness,” said Dinesh Verma, SSE dean and executive director of the Systems Engineering Research Center.

NSF’s grant will provide funding for 53 $10,000 scholarships over five years. To qualify, students must demonstrate their quantitative skills evidenced by GRE scores and their GPA in STEM undergraduate courses, be US citizens and require financial assistance. No formal computing background is required.

This is the first NSF sponsored attempt to recruit liberal arts students into software engineering. If successful, the new program will become self-sustaining and replicable across the country.

Students will graduate with an MS in SwE and be well prepared to enter the workforce as software architects, developers, testers, and requirements engineers. The national average salary for software engineers is around $90,000, according to the employment web site Glassdoor.com.

Students are being actively recruited for the first cohort. Visit http://www.stevens.edu/software-LA for details.

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology, The Innovation University®, is a premier, private research university situated in Hoboken, N.J. overlooking the Manhattan skyline. Founded in 1870, technological innovation has been the hallmark and legacy of Stevens’ education and research programs for more than 140 years. Within the university’s three schools and one college, more than 6,800 undergraduate and graduate students collaborate with more than 380 faculty members in an interdisciplinary, student-centric, entrepreneurial environment to advance the frontiers of science and leverage technology to confront global challenges. Stevens is home to three national research centers of excellence, as well as joint research programs focused on critical industries such as healthcare, energy, finance, defense, maritime security, STEM education and coastal sustainability. Stevens is in the midst of a 10-year strategic plan, The Future. Ours to Create., designed to further extend the Stevens legacy to create a forward-looking and far-reaching institution with global impact.

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Danielle Wooddruffe
Stevens Institute of Technology
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