After it completes a three-year NASA award, Alverno College, Milwaukee, will have the opportunity for a two-year renewal to help increase retention of women in STEM in education and the workforce. (Photo submitted by Alverno College)

Alverno College has received a three-year, $746,947 award from NASA to research and develop strategies to increase retention of women in STEM degree programs and fields.

Alverno is one of seven U.S. institutions to receive this funding to help keep women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) areas. Thirty-four women’s colleges were invited to apply for funding.

“There is a significant gender gap in STEM, in both education and the workforce,” said Jeanie Lucy, Ph.D., Dean of Alverno College’s School of Arts and Sciences and principal investigator for the project.

“Increasing the number of women in STEM is crucial to bringing new ideas and different perspectives to the table, paving the way for better innovation. We are thrilled to continue our work in this area, and honored to be chosen for this award,” Lucy said.

NASA is awarding more than $5 million in funding to women’s colleges and universities as part of its Minority University Research and Education Project to help women overcome obstacles to working in STEM fields.

After completion of the program, Alverno can renew funding for an additional two years.

“This is a very exciting first; we’re making strides to close the pervasive gender gap in STEM, and women’s colleges and universities are well-positioned to help drive that positive change,” NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy said. “It’s more important than ever we have brilliant, enthusiastic people entering the workforce and ready to take on the ambitious plans and challenges ahead.”