An Ohio Northern University College pharmacy student working in a lab.

Ohio Northern University has received a substantial Choose Ohio First (COF) grant for STEM student recruitment and retention. Totaling $952,000, the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) fiscal year 2023 grant funding will assist ONU students studying in STEM and health professions majors.
The competitive grants are part of Ohio’s ongoing effort to develop STEM talent within the state to address the skilled labor shortages STEM professions are increasingly experiencing. According to ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner, the program is providing $28 million to colleges and universities for this latest cycle.
“Previous Choose Ohio First grants, received by ONU, have provided financial support for many students to be able to enroll in an ONU STEM degree program. For the past decade Ohio Northern has continually educated and graduated Choose Ohio First scholars who have made an impact in the state of Ohio," says President Melissa J. Baumann, Ph.D. “We’re honored that the ODHE has again chosen our institution to assist even more students, particularly as we continue to develop our strategic plan and support students in STEM and health care fields.”
For this round of funding to begin in the fall of 2023, ONU is focusing the funding on students who pursue the following fields of study: biology, forensic biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, med lab science, nursing, pharmaceutical and biomedical sciences, and pharmacy.
Scholarships will be awarded based on student merit, financial need and underrepresentation as it relates to the overall student body and to the population in specific COF majors. Recipients will then receive additional support in a variety of ways throughout their entire degree program, which will help them develop a sense of academic, professional and social belonging and purpose; and acquire skills for lifelong success and service. Continuing scholars will serve as mentors to first-year COF scholars.
These grant-funded efforts are expected to increase the enrollment of students in STEM and health sciences fields that prepare professionals for in-demand research and health care
occupations in Ohio. As with the four existing Choose Ohio First programs at ONU, these funds will provide meaningful education and work-based experiences for Ohio students, creating a qualified and job-ready workforce to meet the challenges of current and projected worker shortages.
“Choose Ohio First is an important part of Ohio’s strategy to develop STEM talent in our state. As such, this administration has committed more than $161.3 million over the past four years to STEM and STEM education scholarships,” writes ODE Chancellor Randy Gardner in his announcement to grant recipients. “Your support and your institution’s commitment to high-quality STEM programs that meet the needs of Ohio’s employers is essential to the success of this strategy.”