Benedictine College Announces New STEM Fellows Program

Benedictine College Announces New STEM Program

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dr. Wangari Maathai STEM Fellows Logo

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., has announced a new program for exceptional students in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). The Dr. Wangari Maathai STEM Fellows offers opportunities for the professional development of talented students majoring in Biology, Chemistry/Biochemistry, Engineering, Math/Computer Science, Physics/Astronomy and Psychology. The deadline for applications is March 16, 2018, and Benedictine College will award the first fellowships to incoming freshmen for the fall 2018 semester. Additional information and applications are available on the college website at

“Dr. Wangari Maathai serves as a model of how a scientist, trained within a Benedictine, Liberal Arts tradition, can apply that training to solve problems and make the world a better place,” said Dr. Terrence Malloy, professor and chair of the Biology Department at Benedictine College. “Her legacy teaches us a great deal about sustainability, democracy and peace. This STEM fellowship named in her honor has been created to attract and train STEM students who wish to follow in that tradition.”

Maathai, who passed away in 2011, won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, making Benedictine College the only Catholic college in America to count a Nobel Peace Laureate among its alumni. A native of Kenya, Maathai graduated from Mount St. Scholastica College, now Benedictine College, with a degree in biological science in 1964. She went on to become Africa’s first female Ph.D. and is the first African woman to be awarded any Nobel Prize. Her organization, the Green Belt Movement, has planted tens of millions of trees around the world, continuing her fight against deforestation and for sustainable development and equal access to resources. 

The Fellows will attend lectures from STEM professionals, gain exposure to other STEM fields and have the opportunity to earn grant funding for a senior research project. Fellows will enroll in a one-credit STEM research seminar each semester during their freshman year, and for one semester of their choice during their sophomore year.

The seminar will consist of presentations made by regional STEM professionals and industry leaders from across various STEM fields. This course will give students weekly exposure to innovative research questions and methodologies from expertise outside of the College.

In addition to the for-credit research seminar, Fellows will be expected to:

  • join a STEM-oriented campus club or organization
  • participate in two STEM-related outreach events per year
  • maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • make appropriate progress toward major requirements in a STEM field

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.