Possibility Scholarship to offer opportunity to study abroad

Oswego State’s Possibility Scholarship promises new opportunities for students in the Syracuse and Oswego area this coming fall. The scholarship will provide tuition, full room and board and a study abroad research opportunity for students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors, also known as STEM majors. This research opportunity will include a six to eight week summer study abroad session in one of the seven continents.

"It is a phenomenal program and rewarding for students and for the alumni who help," Mary Canale of the Alumni Association said.

Students who attain the scholarship will be able to graduate debt free and then possibly return to the Oswego and Syracuse areas to work in their major.

Under-represented students who have a passion in the STEM areas but may not otherwise be able to attend college because of financial means are the focus. Incoming freshmen are the priority and it may eventually branch out to transfer students. Canale said the goal is to have 40 students in four years starting in fall 2010. Students in the Syracuse City School District and Oswego City School District can apply. Canale said they did this to retain "close relationships with local schools."

"For now it will remain only for Syracuse and Oswego schools but "it will expand to other areas in the future," Joy Knopp of the Alumni Association said.

The research component of the scholarship will allow students to have the opportunity to work in a global lab. Canale witnessed one of these labs firsthand in her trip to Brazil where students could work in a pharmaceuticals lab. Some of the other study abroad options include diabetes research, deforestation and effects of volcanic activities in the Congo as well as the study HIV immunogens and protein in India.
Oswego State’s Telefund has been raising money through their fundraising by asking the class of 1970 to donate to the scholarship, Knopp said. Their class goal is $40,000.

"They began raising money very late in January and the Telefund will continue to call, and the class will also get a mailing in March or April," Knopp said.

Canale is also in charge of seeking out private funding for the scholarship through organizations and alumni support. Alumni are happy to help, Canale said, through the help of alumni and private funding. They are currently working on funding 10 scholars for the fall.

The National Science Foundation is one source of funding, Canale said. "I think that it is great because it gives an opportunity for a student who financially is incapable of going to school a chance to receive a great education and experience through SUNY Oswego," Derek Folgelson, student manager for the Telefund said.

The scholarship, which was launched in July 2009, is Oswego State President Deborah F. Stanley’s vision, Canale said. It is something she has wanted to do for a while and it has "been a strategic planning process," Canale said.

In addition to the advisor that all students receive when entering the college, the students who receive the scholarship will have physics department professor Shashi M. Kanbur advise them through the four years.

Those involved with the scholarship hope it will bring more eager students who will make a difference on campus with their research and positive outlook. Faculty involved with the students will be gaining new ideas from the students as they travel with them on their study abroad projects, according to the scholarships website.

The community will also benefit from this program in that it will help Central New York have more graduates in the STEM fields. Students can apply online through the regular admission application and can work with their high school counselor to see if this scholarship is right for them.