DES MOINES – Five students at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) were recently awarded one-time summer 2020 scholarships through the DMACC Electrical, Computer and Software Engineers as Leaders (ECSEL) program.
Sawyer Burton, a 2015 graduate of Pella High School, received a $2,500 ECSEL Scholarship. Burton is pursuing an Associate of Science (AS) degree in Liberal Arts with a concentration in computer engineering.
The program is a collaboration between DMACC and Iowa State University (ISU) and is part of a nearly $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to help improve diversity among students throughout science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
DMACC ECSEL program scholarships are typically awarded for the fall and spring semesters only, but this year, the scholarship committee worked to expand the program to include one-time scholarships for the summer 2020 term in response to COVID-19.
“The goal of the DMACC ECSEL program is to provide support to talented students who are experiencing financial need, and to help those students overcome barriers that might keep them from focusing on or continuing their studies,” said Dr. Edris Ebrahimzadeh, a DMACC Engineering Instructor and member of the DMACC ECSEL program’s scholarship committee. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a variety of challenges for many students, and as a committee, we felt it was more important than ever to find a way to offer additional financial assistance to qualified students.”
The DMACC ECSEL Program includes two scholarships. The ECSEL Scholarship is designated for DMACC students who are studying pre-engineering, while the Explorer Scholarship is available to any DMACC students who are enrolled in another STEM-related program of study and interested in exploring a major in electrical, computer or software engineering. Scholarship recipients are mentored by an engineering faculty member at DMACC, as well as by a pre-mentor at Iowa State University. Pre-mentors are current ISU engineering students who previously graduated from DMACC.
“The mentorship aspect of the program also helps our students make a successful and prepared transition to a four-year university after graduating from DMACC.”