V.I. Students Receive National Science Foundation Scholarships

Four students from the U.S. Virgin Islands have entered La Roche College’s CheM Scholar Program after receiving a scholarship from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The CheM Scholar program, which was developed in 2014 after La Roche received a $607,000 grant from the NSF, provides scholarships of up to $10,000 annually to academically talented undergraduates who demonstrate financial need. A total of 21 students were recipients of the NSF Scholarship at La Roche including:

Amber Alcindor of Kingshill, St. Croix Central High School, is a Chemistry major

Alaya Rhymer of St. Thomas, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School, is a Chemistry with Forensics major

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Ricardo Serrano Perez of St. Thomas, Charlottle Amalie High School, is a Mathematics major

Aleta Tyrell of Kingshill, St. Croix Central High School, is a Chemistry with Forensics major

Chemistry Department Chair Don Fujito Ph.D. said, “Our NSF scholarship recipients certainly excelled in mathematics and chemistry in high school, but these students not only demonstrated promise of excelling in their chosen majors – they also had diversified, well-rounded interests.”

CheM scholars have the opportunity to design novel, hands-on learning kits through La Roche’s ChemSOLVE (Chemistry Student-Operated Laboratory Venture) and receive one-on-one mentoring by award-winning faculty, alumni and professionals in the field. The scholarship recipients also benefit from peer-led team leading.

The NSF recognized La Roche’s collaborative approach and awarded a grant for the college to offer a limited number of competitive scholarships to students majoring in math, chemistry or biochemistry. The NSF based its decision to award the grant on two unique aspects of La Roche’s proposal: the fact that the school’s program focused on both chemistry and mathematics, recognizing the interdisciplinary nature of the two disciplines; and the team-based approach used in educating chemistry and math majors throughout the year in the undergraduate curriculum.

La Roche was one of 95 recipients out of approximately 375 proposals submitted nationally in the 2014 funding cycle.

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