The University of Louisiana Monroe announced its selection as an Annie Lowe Stiles grant recipient from the Community Foundation of North Louisiana at a press conference Tuesday.
Through the grant funds, along with matching funds, the College of Business and Social Sciences has been able to create twenty $2,000 scholarships for students enrolled in the bachelor’s degree programs in Computer Information Systems and Computer Science, as well as the students enrolled in the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate program in Computer Information Systems.
Dr. Ronald Berry, Dean of the College of Business and Social Sciences, said the funding will help increase the pipeline of the students needed to fill the in-demand jobs in the region, as well as to recruit those high-caliber students that the region desperately needs to move forward.
“We work very closely with our industry partners to ensure our programs are producing graduates ready for the workforce,” said Berry. “We have modified programs and created new ones to meet the changing needs of industry and continue to recruit the best and brightest students to those programs. Because of the particular importance related to the growth and success of CenturyLink and IBM, we are very excited about this gift today because it allows us to grow our student population in our technology programs.
“Funds for these scholarships in Computer Information Systems and Computer Science have allowed us to grow our enrollment to support the growth in the technology sector along the I20 corridor. We very much appreciate the support of the Annie Lowe Stiles Fund and the Community Foundation of North Louisiana for their support,” Berry continued.
Susan Chappell, Executive Director of the ULM Foundation and Alumni Relations, said one of the grant stipulations is that matching funds and internship programs be provided for the students.
“We received letters of support from CenturyLink and IBM, both of which provide internships for students in Computer Information Systems and Computer Science,” Chappell said. “We doubled the amount of the funds that the Community Foundation gave for the student scholarships with approval from Strauss Interests to match the scholarship grant with earnings from the Clifford M. Strauss fund, an endowment established in the College of Business and Social Sciences.”
Dr. Jose Cordova, ULM Computer Science Program Coordinator, said one of the most common questions students ask is whether there is any scholarship specific to Computer Science students.
“I would tell [students] to go to the ULM Foundation’s website for all sorts of scholarships and apply, but of course, that’s not the answer we would want to give,” Cordova said. “And, up to this point, even though we’ve had partnerships with CenturyLink and IBM, the scholarship money was the missing piece. Well, now, the answer will change. We will definitely have that.”
To qualify for the Annie Lowe Stiles grant, a student must have a minimum ACT score of 24, a high school or college GPA of 3.2, and be enrolled in a Computer Information Systems, Computer Science or Math program.