The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Harford Community College $648,953 to encourage academically talented students with financial need to continue their education and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education fields. The College’s STEM division, through Dean Deborah Wrobel and Associate Professor Tami Imbierowicz, secured $390,000 in scholarship funding over a five-year period. This important funding will provide two-year scholarships of up to $10,000 per year to HCC students.

The competitive NSF Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM) program made the award to financially assist academically talented biology and engineering students. The money will help them achieve their best academic performances in STEM fields and maximize graduation and transfer rates to four-year colleges and universities. Scholarship recipients will be a part of HCC’s HI-StEM (High Intensity Student Engagement Model) program, a cohort learning community led by STEM faculty to create stronger connections and engagement with STEM students through targeted academic programming.

Collaboration with partners at Aberdeen Proving Ground and industry, along with experiential learning opportunities such as field trips and course-based research involvement, will be part of the student cohort experience. The program focuses on partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of STEM areas at the undergraduate and secondary school levels.

“With the award of our second National Science Foundation grant this year, Harford Community College will have the additional tools we need to prepare our academically talented students for high-demand career pathways in STEM areas. This grant will also leverage the expertise of the faculty here on campus by giving us the resources we need to stay competitive in our ever-changing global economy, further positioning HCC to be a national leader in higher education,” commented HCC president Dianna G. Phillips, Ph.D.

Tami Imbierowicz, Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science in the STEM division, has been a faculty member since 2001. She will lead a team of HCC faculty and staff that includes Evan Bucklin, Supawan King, Jaclyn Madden, and Sheila Allen, who combine years of teaching experience and research in mathematics, biotechnology, biology, engineering, and student development. The team brings a strong background to develop the curriculum and pathways program for these S-STEM scholars at Harford Community College.

All NSF S-STEM awards are expected to generate knowledge,” said Kevin Lee, program manager for NSF’s S-STEM program. “The HCC project's research will address to what extent does increased student-faculty engagement increase student retention, graduation and transfer rates of biology and engineering students in a community college.”

The National Science Foundation funds research and education in all fields of science and engineering through grants and cooperative agreements to more than 2,000 colleges, universities, K-12 school systems, businesses, informal science organizations, and other research organizations throughout the United States. The foundation accounts for about one-fourth of the federal support going to academic institutions for basic research.

NSF receives approximately 40,000 proposals each year for research, education and training projects, of which approximately 11,000 are funded.

Students interested in applying for these scholarship opportunities at Harford Community College must be a declared major in engineering or biology, have the potential to achieve at least a 3.0 GPA in each course for the targeted disciplines, and show a financial need. Applications will be accepted through August 15, 2017. To learn more about these scholarship and the HI-StEM cohort, contact Tami Imbierowicz at or 443.412.2122.