Project GPS Scholars Recognized

September 5, 2019

2019-20 Project GPS ScholarsEight Central Community College-Columbus students were recognized as Project GPS scholars for the 2019-20 academic year at a ceremony on Aug. 22 at the campus’ Fine Arts Building.

GPS stands for Growing Pathways to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), a scholarship-awarding program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The scholarship program targets high-achieving students with financial needs and who represent underserved populations in the STEM fields. Project GPS scholars receive two years of educational costs paid in full, including tuition and fees and room and board. The NSF is a federally operated organization that funds the majority of scientific research and science education research in the United States.

Scholarship recipients also have access to experiences that are rare in community college settings and even at four-year institutions. This includes conducting research and presenting at professional meetings. Local industries such as Behlen Manufacturing, DNA Genetics, Loup Power District, Nebraska Public Power District and Pillen Family Farms have agreed to provide tours, job shadowing and internship opportunities.

“Our program emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of STEM careers, and provides opportunities for students majoring in areas as diverse as mechatronics, engineering, and biology to work together on research projects,” said Steve Heinisch, co-principal investigator of the project. “We also provide personalized mentoring and training, recognizing the different needs of different students.”

Central Community College is the only Nebraska community college to be awarded the $648,844 NSF grant to fund the five-year scholarship program. To learn more about the Project GPS scholarship program, please contact Steve Heinisch at 402-562-1264 or; or Dr. Lauren Gillespie at 402-562-1277 or

The Project GPS scholars for 2019-20 are:

AURORA: Donovan Egger;

COLUMBUS: Hanva Bassembat, Aiden Cromwell, Samantha Martinez and Lisset Oropesa;

FREMONT: Cynthia Sanchez-Contreras;

FULLERTON: Shayla Douthit;

KEARNEY: Katy Ayers.