Project GPS Scholars Recognized

August 23, 2021

Students posing with certificatesTwelve Central Community College-Columbus students were recognized as Project GPS scholars for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years at a ceremony on Aug. 19 at the campus’ Fine Arts Building. The 2020-21 GPS scholars were recognized this year as last year’s recognition ceremony was cancelled due to the pandemic.

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 BD, Behlen Manufacturing, Loup Power District and Nebraska Public Power District 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.

The Project GPS scholars for 2020-21 are:

COLUMBUS: Connor Mueller and Taiylor Sanders;

DAVID CITY: Sophie Kadavy;

HOLDREGE: Abigail Hornaman;

PILGER: Rachel Otten.

The Project GPS scholars for 2021-22 are:

COLUMBUS: Therese Yates;

ELM CREEK: Ashley Brown;

RICHLAND: Jacob Plugge;

SAINT EDWARD: Erin Cannaday;

SCHUYLER: Cirilo Mejia;

INMAN, KAN.: Hali Eddy;

ROCK SPRINGS, WYO.: Elizabeth Hamilton.

Pictured on top row (l-r): Connor Mueller, Rachel Otten, Hanva Bassembat (2019-20), Therese Yates and Elizabeth Hamilton. Pictured on bottom row (l-r): Cirilo Mejia, Ashley Brown, Abigail Hornaman, Hali Eddy and Erin Cannaday.