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October 9, 2006

Contact Kyle Backstrand at 608-796-3474 or or Glena Temple at 608-796-3461 or


LA CROSSE, Wis. – Viterbo University efforts to recruit female students in chemistry and related fields has received a major boost from an almost half-million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant will be used to provide 20 Community of Learners Achieving Science Success (CLASS) scholarships to women studying chemistry, biochemistry, or biotechnology. The renewable four-year scholarships, combined with traditional financial aid, will assure recipients of $12,000-14,000 a year.

“We’re very excited to be able to provide students with these CLASS scholarships and get more women involved in the chemical sciences,” said Kyle Backstrand, Viterbo chemistry department chair.

To qualify, applicants must be women who have an ACT test score of 24 or higher, a GPA of 3.3 or higher, and have financial need. In addition, the grant will also fund student support services such as tutoring, career development, and a new course designed to help students succeed in the field of science.

“Many new programs will be started because of this grant,” Backstrand said. “And, if successful, Viterbo has vowed to continue them when the grant expires. Much has been written in the popular press recently about the shortage of females in the sciences, and Viterbo has plans to specifically target qualified women.” 

The scholarship will be especially valuable to female students from rural areas, Backstrand said. Viterbo is actively recruiting from its surrounding area academically able women with a financial need. The scholarship program addresses the challenges many rural students face, such as being under-prepared academically and inadequate knowledge of potential science careers. Prospective students should email for more information.

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