BELONG in STEM Scholars Program
Building Engagement in Laboratories, Networking and Peer Groups (BELONG) in STEM Scholars Program provides scholarships for undergraduate students that are junior-status and above, and are majoring in biological sciences, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, geology and environmental geosciences, mathematics, or computer science. NIU received a $1M grant from the National Science Foundation S-STEM program to offer scholarships to students with financial need and academic promise. Students selected to be BELONG in STEM Scholars will receive $5,000 each academic year for up to three years. Scholars will participate in peer-group meetings, professional development activities, and research opportunities to support their growth and persistence in their majors.
- U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status.
- Demonstrated financial need as determined from FAFSA
- Filed prior to submitting application.
- Junior status in fall 2021.
- Major in one of these seven departments:
Note: high school level education licensure students in the below departments are eligible.
- Chemistry and Biochemistry
- Biological Sciences
- Computer Science
- Geology and Environmental Geosciences
- Preferred minimum 3.0 GPA
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions have been filled. Notification of awards will begin in May 2021.
This project is funded by a National Science Foundation grant (#1834076) awarded to Northern Illinois University. Please contact the Principal Investigators for more information: Ralph Wheeler (email@example.com), Nicole LaDue (firstname.lastname@example.org), and Timothy Hagen (email@example.com).
Prior to submitting an application, be sure to file FAFSA and submit an NIU admission application if you are not already an NIU student. To apply, prepare a one-page personal statement and seek two academic letters of reference. Your personal statement should be no longer than one page (i.e. 12-pt font, single-spaced) and should highlight your personal motivation and interest in pursuing your degree. Your letters of reference should be from individuals who can attest to your academic accomplishments and potential. Check the sections below for more information.
Tips for preparing your personal statement
- Describe why you are interested in your major.
- Explain what your motivation is for pursuing a STEM degree.
- Highlight your ability to manage your time, communicate and write.
- Discuss any unique qualities that make you an ideal candidate for this scholarship program.
- Ask a mentor or academic writing center to proofread your personal statement.
- Be sure to carefully check for grammatical or typographical errors.
- More tips on writing a personal statement.
Letters of Recommendation
Your letters of recommendation should highlight your academic promise and your skills (i.e., technical, writing, communication). Letters from former teachers, instructors or professors are preferred. However, letters from former employers are appropriate, as well. Please do not submit letters from personal references (i.e. friends, family members, etc.).
For the application, you will be asked to submit the contact information for two letters of reference. Please have your letter writers email their letters to: CLASS-STEM@niu.edu with your name as the subject and as the file name of their letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, if you are not already an NIU student. Full consideration of your application for the BELONG in STEM Scholars program requires that you complete the official NIU admission application. If you have not already completed the official NIU admission application, and are not already a NIU student, please do so immediately in order to have your BELONG in STEM application fully considered.
Yes. Full consideration of your application for the BELONG in STEM Scholars Program requires that you complete the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year. If you have not already completed the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year, please do so immediately in order to have your BELONG in STEM application fully considered.
Having Junior status at NIU means that you have completed 60+ credit hours as determined on your transcript.
You will be required to participate in weekly peer group meetings and monthly professional development activities scheduled throughout each semester. You will also have to opportunity to participate in research experiences related to your major and volunteer and service work. You will also be expected to participate in the evaluation of the program (ex. surveys and interviews) during your time in the program.
No, engineering majors are not eligible for the BELONG in STEM scholarship program. Only STEM majors within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are eligible.
Please email CLASsfirstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you shortly.
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