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S-STEM Scholars Program

The S-STEM Scholars Program at College of the Canyons provides resources to help increase the financial, academic, social, and cultural equity of our students.



S-STEM Scholars Meeting


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What is a S-STEM Scholar?

Eligibility for the S-STEM Scholars Program

S-STEM Scholar Commitments

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Application

Program Requirements

Contact Information


What is a S-STEM Scholar?

The S-STEM Scholars program is designed to enhance the financial, academic, social, and cultural capital for STEM students at College of the Canyons, which will result in higher persistence and completion rates among our STEM students. 

Financial Capital – S-STEM Scholars will receive up to $2500/semester[1] in scholarship funds to help fund their education. 

Academic Capital – S-STEM Scholars will be full members of our successful MESA Center and will have access to academic success workshops, tutoring, individual academic counselling, and priority registration.

Social Capital – S-STEM Scholars will be encouraged to enroll in classes with other S-STEM Scholars. They will also be paired with a peer mentor and a faculty mentor, and encouraged to interact with guest speakers from their STEM field.

Cultural Capital – Through STEM Equity Alliance events, S-STEM Scholars will gain tools to strengthen their STEM identities. Scholars will develop and celebrate their individual contributions to the STEM fields by working with their mentors to propose, perform, and present research that is relevant to their interests.

The S-STEM Scholars Program is a two-year commitment.  The goal is for all SEA Scholars to 1) achieve an associate’s degree in a STEM field, and/or 2) to transfer to a four-year college to complete their bachelor’s degree in a STEM field.

S-STEM Scholars meeting


To be eligible for the S-STEM Scholars Program, students must fulfill the following criteria:

  • US Citizen or permanent resident
  • College of the Canyons student
  • Enrolled in at least 6 credit hours of STEM classes per semester
  • Majoring in a STEM field (Biology, Engineering, Environmental Science, Math, Physics)
  • Completed 2023-2024 FASFA[1]

[1] The S-STEM Scholars Program is funded by the NSF S-STEM Grant 2130457. Scholarship amounts are determined on a need basis. Based on analysis of the COC student population, we anticipate that most scholars will qualify for the entire amount. The actual amount that will be awarded for individual scholars will be included in acceptance letters.

NSF logo

Scholar Commitments

If accepted into the SEA Scholars Program, we expect that student scholars will participate for two years. During those two years scholars will:

  • Participate in MESA activities, including academic excellence workshops, field trips, guest speakers, etc. 
  • Meet regularly with their faculty mentor and work to propose, research, and present a project in the STEM Expo 
  • Meet with an academic counselor to ensure that they progressing toward their academic goals
  • Participate in S-STEM Scholars and STEM Equity Alliance events 

S-STEM Mentoring


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Program Application

Who is eligible for the program?

  • Both incoming and continuing students are eligible for the S-STEM Scholars Program. Students must declare a major in a STEM field (see below), enroll in at least 6 units in Fall 2022, and must complete the 2022-2023 FASFA to be considered.
  • Scholarship recipients must be citizens of the United States, nationals of the United States (as defined in section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), aliens admitted as refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or aliens lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Please note that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals are ineligible for the scholarship unless they meet the requirements listed in the first sentence of this bullet.

What is considered a STEM field?

  • At College of the Canyons, students pursuing the following degrees are eligible for the S-STEM Scholars Program: Biology (AS, AS-T), Computer Science (AS, AS-T), Engineering (AS), Environmental Science (AS-T), Geology (AS-T), Liberal Arts & Sciences – Math and Science (AS), Mathematics (AS, AS-T), Physics (AS-T).

Why do I need to fill out the FASFA to be eligible?

  • The S-STEM Scholars Program and College of the Canyons is funded by and NSF S-STEM grant. This grant requires that scholarships be awarded on a need basis, as determined by the FASFA.

What does it mean to have to demonstrate financial need?

  • Financial need is determined based on the FASFA and the cost-of-attendance for College of the Canyons. You will need to complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as part of your application process so this can be determined. We anticipate that the majority of our students will qualify for the scholarship.

I am a dual-enrolled high school student, so I am not eligible to fill out the FASFA. Am I still eligible for the S-STEM Scholars Program?

  • No, the NSF requires that the scholarship recipients be regular college students. 

When/how will the scholarships be disbursed?

  • The scholarships will be disbursed through the College of the Canyons Financial Aid office. Each Scholar will receive the scholarship amount at the beginning of fall and spring semesters. Amounts and dates of distribution will be located on the Important Dates page of your Award Notification.

The summary says that some students may not qualify for the entire scholarship. If awarded, when will I know the amount of my scholarship?

  • Each scholar’s FASFA information will be considered prior to award notification. The acceptance letter will include the total amount awarded for year 1.

Will the scholarship from the S-STEM Scholars program prevent me from accepting other scholarships, or participating in other programs?

  • The funding for this scholarship requires that the funds be distributed on a need-basis, and that this be the last scholarship applied.
  • You are welcome and encouraged to participate in other activities both on and off campus.

Can a student reapply for the program in future years?

  • Students that anticipate they are two years from an associate’s degree or transfer to a 4-year university are encouraged to apply in subsequent years.

Do I have to answer all of the questions on the application to be considered?

  • The application must be complete to be considered.

Do I need a letter of recommendation for the application?

  • The application does not require a letter of recommendation.

When will I know whether I’ve been accepted into the program?

  • Applications will be reviewed between June 15, 2022 and June 30, 2022. We expect to distribute acceptance letters in the first two weeks of July.


Program Requirements

What are the benefits of the SEA Scholars Program?

  • Students that participate in the program and meet financial need requirements will receive $5000 per academic year for two years. In addition, students will be accepted into the MESA program, receive priority registration, and will be paired with a faculty mentor.

The application says that students will be part of the MESA program. What is MESA?

  • The Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) Program serves to enrich the experience of students majoring in math, science and engineering. It supports financially disadvantaged and/or historically underrepresented students by providing a variety of services including academic advisement, discipline specific enrichment and community building opportunities.

Once accepted to the program, how do I maintain eligibility?

  • To maintain eligibility, you must remain a STEM major, maintain a GPA of 2.5 or above, and complete at least 4 STEM courses (or 12 STEM units) in your major during year 1.

Am I required to take certain classes to be in the S-STEM Scholars program?

  • The S-STEM Scholars Program includes cohort classes in math, chemistry, and physics. The classes aim to establish a strong community of advocates and peers around the student participants. If a student is unable to participate in a cohort class, they can still participate in the program.

Do I have to be a full-time student to participate in the S-STEM Scholars Program?

  • It is not an official requirement that student scholars are full-time students. However, the goal of the program is to complete an associate’s degree or transfer requirements within two years of joining the program so full-time status is strongly encouraged.

Will I be able to keep a job if I join the S-STEM Scholars Program?

  • This scholarship is intended to help you work less so that you can study more. We recommend you reduce your work hours if awarded this scholarship.

What is the time commitment for the S-STEM Scholars Program?

  • As a participant of the S-STEM Scholars program, we would expect you to participate in mentor-mentee meetings, attend STEM Equity Alliance events, participate in MESA activities, and complete an independent project for the STEM Expo during the spring semester. We anticipate students will participate in 1-2 hours of activities per week in addition to their classes as a part of the S-STEM Scholars Program.

Will I pick my faculty mentor?

  • We have a diverse team of STEM faculty mentors. We hope to match students with faculty mentors based on both academic interest and personal experiences. If there are identities that you hope to share with your mentor please let us know so we can help to facilitate a meaningful relationship for you and your mentor.

What happens if I lose eligibility for the program because I change my major to one that is not considered STEM?

  • You will lose the scholarship beginning in the semester following the change.

What happens if I lose eligibility for the program due to low GPA or because I do not complete 4 STEM courses?

  • The goal of the S-STEM Scholars Program is to provide supports so all students can succeed. If your GPA drops below 2.0, or if you fail to complete 4 STEM courses by the end of summer in your first year, you will be granted a 1-semester grace period to re-establish eligibility. During that semester, you, your mentor, an academic counselor, and the grant team will work to identify supports that will help you to succeed in your STEM classes and progress towards your academic goal.

If I transfer before the end of the two-year scholarship, will the scholarship go with me?

  • The funding is only available to students at College of the Canyons.


Contact Information

If you want to learn more about the S-STEM Scholars Program, please email

College of the Canyons
c/o Patricia Foley S-STEM Scholars Program
26455 Rockwell Canyon Road
Valencia, CA 91355


Program Director:

Patricia Foley, Ph.D., Associate Professor in Chemistry

Mentorship Lead:

Teresa Ciardi, M.S., Professor in Physical Sciences

Academic Success Lead:

Amy Foote, M.S., MESA Director

Events Lead:

Mireya Milian, M.A., Academic Counselor

Faculty Development Lead:

Stephanie Meredith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Anthropology