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UT Austin Expands Freshman STEM Research Program With $2.4M Grant

Thanks to a $2.4 million grant, the University of Texas at Austin is growing its Freshman Research Initiative program, which seeks to lure students into science-related fields by providing research opportunities for freshmen. 

Currently the program, housed in the College of Natural Sciences, lets roughly 800 first-year students earn course credit while doing original, publishable research in the sciences for up to two years. The grant was awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and will expand opportunities to students who transfer into the college and will let them continue their research beyond the standard two years.

According to the university, the grant will help combat the high percentage of students who drop out of STEM-related degree programs within their first two years.

"Through the Freshman Research Initiative, students develop the passion, skills and sense of community they need to persevere in getting a science degree and become a successful scientist or engineer," said Erin Dolan, director of the Texas Center for Science Discovery, which oversees the program, in a statement. "We're thrilled that HHMI is endorsing our approach by giving us the resources to grow this important and effective program."

The University of Texas at Austin is among 37 universities receiving a total of $60 million in grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2014.

About the Author

Stephen Noonoo is a contributing editor. He is on Twitter @stephenoonoo.

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