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Our mission

The STEM Career Opportunities in Nebraska: Networks, Experiential-learning, and Computational Thinking (STEM CONNECT) is an NSF-funded S-STEM (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) scholarship program forming a partnership among the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Southeast Community College (SCC), and Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC).

Launched in Fall 2019, STEM CONNECT awards scholarships to and provides curricular and co-curricular support to academically talented, low-income students with interest in careers that require strong skills in mathematics or computer science. A major goal of the program is to promote diversity within STEM disciplines.

STEM CONNECT scholar Santiago Giraldo discusses unmanned aerial vehicles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's NIMBUS (Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems) Lab in 2022.
STEM CONNECT scholar Santiago Giraldo discusses unmanned aerial vehicles at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's NIMBUS (Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems) Lab in 2022.

Current Scholars

The STEM CONNECT Community currently has 66 Scholars: 30 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 28 at Southeast Community College, and eight at Western Nebraska Community College. Of the Scholars at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 14 transferred from the SCC STEM CONNECT program and two from the WNCC STEM CONNECT program. Read more about the STEM CONNECT Scholars.

Since the start of the program in Fall 2019, graduates from our community college STEM CONNECT programs have gone on to, among other things, procure jobs in IT and nuclear energy.

Follow us on social media @UNLMathematics and use #STEMCONNECT.

Physics major Abbey Bowers. Photo by Maddy Wells | CSMCE, sophomore advertising and public relations major
Physics major Abbey Bowers. Photo by Maddy Wells | CSMCE, sophomore advertising and public relations major

I find community [in STEM CONNECT] because we’re given resources and tutoring that other places don’t offer. My mentors are really helpful, by getting me internship positions like I did this summer and helping me with imposter syndrome.

How to Apply to SCC or WNCC


If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible for our scholarship program, please email us to describe your circumstances at stemconnect@unl.edu.

The STEM CONNECT application for Fall 2024 is open: https://go.unl.edu/stemconnectapplication

Benefits of the STEM CONNECT program

  • Community. STEM CONNECT Scholars will be part of a community of Scholars who share an interest in learning mathematics and computer science.
  • Mentoring. Scholars will be supported by a network of mentors, including a faculty mentor who meets regularly with mentees and participates in program activities and a staff adviser. Many STEM CONNECT Scholars also will have the opportunity to work as a Peer Mentor and thus mentor newer STEM CONNECT Scholars.
  • The STEM CONNECT Seminar. All STEM CONNECT Scholars participate in a non-credit course their first semester as a STEM CONNECT Scholar and bimonthly seminars in subsequent semesters. The seminar is designed to help students develop their leadership potential, gain valuable academic skills, become aware of available support services and resources on their campuses, build a common identity within the STEM CONNECT community, and learn about STEM career and education options.


What you need to know

  • Financial need: STEM CONNECT Scholarships are need-based. A student’s financial need is determined by U.S. Department of Education rules based on information provided with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
  • Renewability: Scholarships are renewable subject to the program’s eligibility criteria and availability of funding through the Spring of 2025.
  • Citizenship: You must be a U.S. citizen, national (as defined in section 101(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), alien admitted as refugees under section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, or alien lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Please note that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) individuals are ineligible for support from this solicitation unless they meet the requirements listed in the first sentence of this bullet
  • Undergraduate status: You must have begun college as a first-year student between Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 OR have no more than 30 credits applicable to a STEM major.


  • You must enroll in the Academic Transfer program intending to pursue a STEM focused academic program with the goal of transferring to a four-year college to complete their studies, OR
  • Be pursuing a two-year degree that will lead to opportunities for employment as a member of the skilled technical workforce, AND agree to take mathematics or computer science courses that will strengthen your preparation for a career in a STEM field. Note: SCC students interested in Health (e.g., nursing, medicine) are not eligible.
  • See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for additional eligibility information.

Contact us with any questions at stemconnect@unl.edu.

Abby Seibel

I was always a straight-A student, so I was really terrified of failing. The first time I started coding and it wouldn't work, I’d think, ‘Oh no, I failed. But now, I think, ‘Oh no, that's just how it is.’ I really want to inspire people not to be afraid of failing in computer science because that's a big part of it.


Nataliya BranaMichael SandersMohammed SbaiAbby SeibelShawn Shonerd

December 2023 Graduates

In December 2023 five Scholars graduated, including two transfer students from SCC:

Nataliya Brana, B.S. in mathematics
Brana plans to join the workforce.

Michael Sanders, B.S. in computer science
Sanders plans to join the workforce.

Mohammed Sbai, B.S. in mechanical engineering, SCC transfer
Sbai plans to go to graduate school.

Abby Seibel, B.S. in computer engineering
Seibel has accepted a position at Union Pacific.

Shawn Shonerd, B.S. in civil engineering, SCC transfer
Shonerd has accepted a position at Houston Engineering.

Inside Higher Ed Spotlight

Inside Higher Ed featured an article about STEM CONNECT after UNL's largest cohort to date graduated in May 2023. For more details about the article, visit here. For more details about the May 2023 graduating cohort, visit here.

Subset of the May 2023 graduating cohort


"From Football to Math and Back," with Eric Eager, Ph.D.

Watch on YouTube

Abstract: American Football is undergoing a significant shift to the quantitative. Once a game where only the biggest and strongest could contribute, teams are increasingly leaning into modern statistical tools to give themselves an edge. This has coincided with an increase in popularity for the game, which in turn has led to an increase in gaming offering for fans — enhanced by mathematical approaches to understanding the game. In this talk, I will survey the accomplishments of football analytics and preview what is to come for America’s favorite sport.

Bio: Eric Eager is the vice president of research and development at SumerSports, a startup aimed at helping football teams optimize their decision making processes. He was previously at Pro Football Focus, where he built an industry-leading analytics group. Prior to joining PFF, he earned a Ph.D. in mathematical biology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and went on to publish 25 papers in math, biology and the scholarship of teaching and learning while a professor at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.