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WHAT: The National Science Foundation has awarded Barnard College a 2021 S-STEM grant in the amount of $979,041. This funding will be used to extend financial support to 30 Pell-eligible students accepted into Barnard’s Science Pathways Scholars Program, (SP)², and to study the factors that impact retention and trajectories in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, research, and post-graduate outcomes. (SP)² is a highly selective, four-year cohort program for students from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate a strong interest in biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental science, physics/astronomy, or neuroscience. With this funding, the College will continue to provide educational opportunities to exceptional students with strong potential for careers in STEM, enhancing the likelihood that they will persevere and succeed in their chosen fields. According to Provost Linda A. Bell, “in addition to lessening the financial burden students face in higher education, the grant will allow the College to more closely analyze how factors such as math anxiety, science self-efficacy, imposter syndrome, and competitive preferences impact women’s success in STEM.” Of the Pell-eligible students who initially expressed an interest in the sciences between 2016 and 2019, and were not enrolled in existing support programs, it was found that just 52% ultimately declared a STEM major. In contrast, among the other students who initially expressed an interest in the sciences during the same time period, but were supported by our (SP)² program, 86% declared a STEM major and reported positive experiences about their participation in the program. (SP)² is supported by grants from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation, the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and The Bank of New York Mellon. 

WHO: John Glendinning, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Biological Sciences at Barnard College, is the Principal Investigator (PI) for this program and Homa Zarghamee, Associate Professor of Economics, will be conducting the research. Glendinning will lend his expertise as a biologist and neuroscientist, while Zarghamee will draw on insights she has gleaned while investigating the determinants of subjective well-being as well as gender and competition to assess the factors that affect women’s success in STEM. 

WHEN: The five-year grant period begins on May 1, 2021. Funds to support students in Barnard’s (SP)² will be processed by the College and dispersed as they are made available each year for the next five years, eventually supporting 30 Pell-eligible STEM majors. The research, which will be used to help educational institutions across the country create more effective interventions to foster students’ interest, retention, and success in STEM, is already underway. 

WHERE: Barnard College
3009 Broadway at 117th Street, New York, NY

Kathryn Gerlach


About the National Science Foundation

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

About Barnard College

Barnard College provides a singular educational experience, as a world-renowned college focused on excellence across the arts and sciences, with all the academic resources of Columbia University and the City of New York as an extended classroom. Founded in 1889, Barnard was one of the few colleges in the nation where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, Barnard is one of the most selective academic institutions in the country and remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional. For more information on Barnard College, contact Barnard Media Relations at 212-854-2037 or To learn more, follow Barnard on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.