EKU Online Student Veterans Receive STEM Scholarship

Image Scholarship recipient Nathan Roy with his family.

Five student veterans who are earning their degrees with EKU Online were awarded the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship. Nationwide, more students are now eligible for the award thanks to an amendment that was introduced by Congressman Andy Barr.

“We need these in-demand skills. People who have been heroes and servants to our country bring to the table the ability to work as a team, to put a cause greater than themselves first,” declared Barr at a press conference held on EKU’s Richmond, Ky. campus.

The scholarship, which is part of the Forever GI Bill, provides supplementary benefits for students who are pursuing STEM degrees or teaching certification.

It is a provision of the Forever GI Bill which gives additional benefits to students training in high demand STEM fields. Barr’s bill adjusted the credit hours required for the award from 128 to 120, which is the length of a typical bachelor’s degree program.

Staff in the EKU Office of Veterans Affairs closely monitored the bill’s progress and reached out to students who had not previously qualified.

Veteran James Lowe of Katy, Texas is in the occupational safety program. He explained that the scholarship came at just the right time for him. He had run out of GI Bill benefits with only a few courses left to take.

“This scholarship allowed me to not worry about finances and stay focused on finishing my degree . . . while also balancing my civilian career, Army National Guard career and my family,” said Lowe.

Recipient Sgt. James Birdsong, a U.S. Army veteran who served inOperation Iraqi Freedom and with the National Guard, said the scholarship was unexpected and appreciated. He spoke at a press conference Congressman Barr hosted on EKU’s Richmond campus.

Birdsong is majoring in occupational safety. He decided to get his degree when the company he worked for closed. Like many vets, he found it challenging to settle into student life after serving. Anxiety and depression caused him to fall behind in some courses, but he persevered.

“I never thought I’d be here,” he told the audience, “and I didn’t do this alone. People have helped me along the way. EKU professors have been incredibly helpful and I am very thankful for their patience, encouragement and professionalism.”

Veteran Nathan Roy, who resides in Clarksville, Tenn., wants to become a health care clinician. He will be the first member of his family to graduate from college when he completes his degree in emergency medical care.

Two additional recipients are pursuing degrees in fire protection and safety engineering technology: John Richerson and Nicholas Ellema. Both reside in Georgia.

Students who would like to learn more about the Edith Nourse Rogers Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Scholarship, can contact the EKU Office of Veterans Affairs.

Published on April 02, 2020