Adult students at Penn State receive federal funding for STEM studies

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A $3.04 million U.S. Department of Labor grant is helping central Pennsylvania adults prepare for careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Penn State campuses, including the World Campus and the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

The STEM Career Advancement Project of Central Pennsylvania (STEM CAP) was awarded to the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corp. (CPWDC), which in partnership with the Private Industry Council of the Central Corridor (PICCC) is providing scholarship opportunities and incumbent worker training for eligible adults in nine counties.

“STEM CAP was designed to help adults who have college experience but have found themselves underemployed or unemployed get back in the workforce with a STEM career,” said Kristy Kline, CPWDC STEM recruitment coordinator. “As predicted, these careers are blossoming in our region. This grant will help complete the education necessary for these opportunities. STEM CAP scholarships, ranging from $200 to $20,000, have been awarded to adults looking to complete bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accounting, nursing, engineering, information technology, health administration and business administration, just to name a few.”

To be eligible, scholarship recipients need to live in central Pennsylvania and be enrolled or be eligible to enroll in STEM-related education programs. Currently, 20 recipients are enrolled at Penn State’s University Park campus, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Penn State Altoona, Penn State Hazleton, Penn State Lewistown Center and the World Campus, and 25 students have enrolled at Penn College.

State College resident Lucy Aplan and Julian resident Robin Williams are receiving $20,000 STEM scholarships and pursuing associate degrees in medical laboratory technology (MLT) at Penn State Lewistown Center. Both have bachelor’s degrees, which was integral to their receiving STEM scholarships.

Aplan always wanted a Penn State degree but after high school decided to start working in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Before returning to State College in 2004, she earned a bachelor’s degree in marine science. A recent layoff gave her the opportunity to enroll at Penn State. “I would like to merge my marine science degree with an MLT degree and work in a marine research lab,” said Aplan, whose brother and sister are Penn State graduates.

Williams, who works part time at a Lewistown Hospital lab and does health and wellness life insurance screenings for another company, is in the second year of the MLT program. “Everything just fell into place perfectly,” said Williams, when she learned about Penn State’s two-year program. “I always wanted an MLT degree, but couldn’t afford to quit work to attend a four-year program. I love working in a lab. It’s always fascinating work.”

For information about Penn State education programs for adults, visit and

Applications for the STEM Career Advancement Project of Central Pennsylvania are still being accepted. For information, visit or or call PICCC at 814-237-8998.

Last Updated July 01, 2013