The Bioinformatics Training with Industry Support and Engagement (BITWISE) project is funded through the generous support of the National Science Foundation's S-STEM Scholarship program (press release). This five-year, $650K program will provide up to $10000 per year to academically talented students with demonstrated financial need while pursuing the standalone M.S. program or the accelerated bachelor's/master's curriculum.
In addition to the financial support, one of the key aspects of the project is to leverage Saint Louis University's midtown locaiton within a vibrant community of biotechnology industries in the Greater St. Louis area. Community partners provide a broad network for placing students into internships while completing their master's degrees and into careers upon graduation. Local industries will invite groups of BITWISE scholars on location through a series of field trips during the academic year, and industry mentors will participate in on-campus activities such as research seminars and career panels.
The BITWISE program will also introduce new student-support structures including a summer bridge program led by faculty for incoming students and dedicated supplemental instruction groups throughout the year led by second-year students. Scholars will also benefit from existing support structures at the university such as the Student Success Center, Career Services office, and Financial Services counselors.
The program will begin in Fall 2017 and is open to students entering the standalone M.S. program in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology or existing SLU undergraduates who are admitted to the accelerated bachelor's/master's program. Additional cohorts will be supported among those entering the program in Fall 2018, 2019, and 2020.
Individual students may receive up to $10000 per year for each of two years, credited toward their student account. As per NSF regulations, scholarship recipients must be US citizens, permanent residents, nationals, or refugees. Furthermore, the size of a student's scholarship cannot exceed his or her level of unmet financial need. To be considered for this scholarship, qualified students must apply to the academic program by Feburary 1 and document financial need by providing SLU access to a current-year FAFSA report. SLU's FAFSA federal school code is 002506.
Once a student is awarded a BITWISE scholarship, the scholarship is guaranteed for up to four consecutive semesters so long as the student remains in good standing in the BCB program (typically, maintaining a GPA of a least 3.0 and demonstrating continued progress toward the degree requirements). Requests for leaves of absence or deferments of the scholarship will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, generally reserved for truly extenuating circumstances.
For further questions about the BITWISE program, contact Dr. Michael Goldwasser.