NORTH ANDOVER — The National Science Foundation awarded Merrimack College with nearly a million dollars to fund a study on the undergraduate success of talented, low-income students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs.

The project named Financial, Academic, Social, and Mental Health Supports to Improve STEM Undergraduate Student Retention and Graduation, will be headed up by Rickey Caldwell Jr., an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Merrimack College.

“Too often, talented people don’t have the means or opportunity to grow their talents into great careers,” said Congressman Seth Moulton,  D-Massachusetts, who announced the grant Wednesday. “Merrimack College will help more people put their talents to use and land great jobs with what they learn through the study this grant funds.”

Caldwell and his team of researchers will provide 20 students with four years of financial aid and specialized support services – including access to mental health professionals – with the goal of determining which “social, emotional, and mental health factors” influence their success.

According to the study's abstract on the National Science Foundation's website, “The project's research goals are to quantify student grit, resilience, and other factors over the course of the program and will use statistical analysis to probe the interactions between these factors and student success.”

Merrimack College is going to receive the $999,523 grant Aug. 15.


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