Thirty-three Genesee Community College students are receiving Technology Opportunity Pathway (TOP) scholarships this fall, Dean of Enrollment Management Virginia Taylor reported to the Board of Trustees this evening. TOP scholarships are funded through the National Science Foundation.
The TOP program is designed to encourage participating students to enter high-demand technical careers. "These are rewarding careers that will be at the forefront of economic development in our own communities and throughout our nation in the years ahead," said Kenneth Mead, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Information Systems and TOP program Principal Investigator.
The 33 TOP students are receiving about $61,000 in scholarship support this year, or roughly $1,800 each. Unlike traditional scholarship programs, however, TOP requires students to attend special TOP events, meet with academic mentors, and participate in technology-oriented workshops outside the classroom. For example, students have visited technology programs at Rochester Institute of Technology and the Toronto Science Center. Recently, students participated in a special Network and Information Security CISCO seminar.
Faculty members who work with TOP students - Professor Mead and Dr. Taylor as well as James Bucki, Director of Academic Computer Technology Programs, Marina Cappellino, Assistant Professor of Computer Systems and Network Technologies, and Philip Pickering, Assistant Professor of Mathematics - also plan to help students prepare transfer applications and resumes. "Our job, very simply, is to help fill our future workforce with outstanding graduates ready to meet the technological challenges of the 21st century," Dr. Taylor told the Board.
Students enrolled in Computer Information Systems, Computer Support and Operations, Computer Systems and Networking, Drafting, Engineering Science, and Liberal Arts: Math/Science programs are eligible to apply for TOP scholarships. Fifty-two students applied for this year's 33 spots. During the Spring 2005 semester, 50 students applied for 31 open scholarships.
The National Science Foundation has committed $268,000 to Genesee for four years. "While the grant will end after four years, the impact of the grant will be felt for several generations," Professor Mead said. "The students who graduate from Genesee with TOP scholarships will help form the backbone of our technologically-oriented economy for many years to come."