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Descartes Scholarship Program to Help Cultivate Future Leaders


A recent study by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found there is a great need for more U.S. citizens and permanent residents with degrees in science and engineering in order for the U.S to remain competitive in these fields. In response to this finding, Loyola Marymount University will introduce the Descartes Scholars Program (DSP) next fall.

The DSP will recruit 12 financially disadvantaged students from the Los Angeles region to pursue and earn engineering, science or mathematics degrees from LMU. The recipients will receive $10,000 a year in scholarships, renewable for up to four years provided the students remain in good academic standing and continue to require financial aid.

“There is a huge need for talented, hard-working students from lower-income families to be recruited into these fields,” said Herbert Medina, professor of mathematics and the program director of the Descartes Scholarship. “Underrepresented groups need to be tapped if the U.S. is to meet the challenges of a more technologically oriented economy without continuing the acceleration of its dependence on foreign talent.”

The $10,000 grant from NSF will be combined with federal, state and institutional grants. There is no special application for the program; students who meet the requirements must mention it in the “Statement of Intent” portion of their application.

Current funding for the program is for one cohort of students. Medina hopes that once the program is up and running it will attract more attention, and hopefully foundations or donors will have an interest in funding additional student cohorts.