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Columns November 26, 2015  RSS feed

STEM scholarships open new doors for New York students

BY ASSEMBLYMAN MIKE MILLER


Assemblyman Mike Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which covers all or parts of Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven. Assemblyman Mike Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which covers all or parts of Glendale, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven. Choosing a college major can be an intimidating process. Students entering higher education today have a vast selection of colleges and majors to choose from, but they face the decision knowing they are likely to take on burdensome student debt to finance their futures.

For students who love to solve problems, want to make the world a better place and constantly wonder about how things work, a career in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field can be an attractive option.

This is especially true because many of the best-paying, most secure jobs are STEM-related, and these opportunities continue to multiply. In New York State, STEM jobs are expected to grow 14 percent between 2014 and 2024, while other jobs will grow just 9 percent. Yet employers struggle to fill these positions because there are more jobs than there are workers qualified to do them, which hurts our state’s businesses.

To solve this mismatch, New York State created an exciting new scholarship program for high-achieving high school students. Under the New York State Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program, students in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes who plan to study STEM at a SUNY or CUNY school can earn full-tuition scholarships for four- or fiveyear programs.

In return, those students must keep their grades up and work and live in the state for five consecutive years after graduation in a STEM-related field. Not only will this scholarship help inspire more students to enroll in STEM majors, it also keeps them from being saddled with crushing student loan debt upon graduation.

This incentive program is a win-win for employers searching for top talent and for high school students interested in pursuing rewarding STEM careers. By offering scholarships to our best and brightest, we’re helping put more kids on the path to a brighter future and investing in the future of our state. It’s vital to New York State’s success that STEM-educated professionals connect with the employers who need their unique talents. A strong economic future in New York State depends on preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow as well as encouraging graduates to stay and put down roots. Ultimately, their talents will benefit all of us.

For more information or to apply for this scholarship, visit the program’s website (www.hesc.ny.gov/stem). As always, if you have questions about this or any other issue, please call me at 718-805-0950 or send me an email at millermg@assembly.state.ny.us.