Ag News

FVSU funding plant science scholarships with NSF grant

A National Science Foundation (NSF) grant is helping to reduce the costs for Fort Valley State University students pursuing a plant science degree in biotechnology.

The NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education awarded FVSU a $986,869 grant to recruit, retain and provide scholarship support for students in the plant science-biotechnology program. Dr. Sarwan Dhir, a FVSU plant biotechnology professor and director of the Center for Biotechnology, said the goal is to select and increase the enrollment and graduation rates of academically high-performing students who demonstrated financial need, particularly among first generation minority college students.

FVSU will offer the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program to eligible incoming first-year and transfer students in fall 2019. The grant will support 30-35 undergraduate students majoring in plant science-biotechnology. They will receive an annually renewable $4,200 scholarship for four years ($16,800 total) and must maintain required academic standards by the university and program.

Dhir said the NSF S-STEM Program initially started in 2006.

Basic eligibility requirements for the NSF S-STEM Program include students seeking a bachelor’s degree, graduate school or career in the area of plant science-biotechnology and maintaining an overall grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Other requirements include showing strong academic potential or ability, demonstrating financial need as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and being a U.S. citizen.

In addition, eligible students must fully participate in the program enrichment activities such as guest speaker seminars, workshops, events at the campus level and community outreach activities. Recipients also must be willing to participate in internships that reflect their academic goals.

Former scholarship recipients currently have careers as medical professionals, science teachers, environmental specialists, biological science technicians and soil conservationists.

To apply for the NSF S-STEM Program, contact Dhir at (478) 822-1057 or