Decal for STEM CONNECT with UNL, SCC and WNCC


NSF logo

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).

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.

The program was launched in Fall 2019 to promote diversity within STEM disciplines and allows students the opportunity to transfer to UNL after two years in either SCC or WNCC’s STEM CONNECT program with financial aid.

Student solves puzzle at Math Day

First cohort

During the 2019-2020 academic year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln welcomed 10 Scholars into its inaugural cohort, who will later serve as program mentors for the cohorts that transfer from Southeast Community College and Western Nebraska Community College. While the University of Nebraska will no longer be actively seeking first- and second-year student applicants following the Spring 2020 semester, UNL will remain part of the program as a transfer option to second-year students at SCC or WNCC.

SCC welcomed six Scholars in its cohort in the Spring of 2020, and WNCC selected five. Learn more

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

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.

Read more about the Spring 2020 STEM CONNECT Scholars

How to Apply to SCC and WNCC

The application process for a STEM CONNECT scholarship depends on your current educational status and your higher education plans.

Southeast Community College (SCC) and Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) are welcoming STEM CONNECT applications for Spring 2022 beginning September 15, 2021. The first review of applications will begin December 13, 2021, for all applications received by that date. The final date for Spring 2022 applications is December 13, 2021.

After Spring 2020, UNL will no longer be accepting STEM CONNECT applications for first- and second-year students. Interested students that fall into this category can apply to SCC or WNCC, and in future semesters scholars will have the option to transfer their award to UNL.

  • For Spring 2022:
  • If you are a first-year student at SCC or WNCC or applying to SCC or WNCC, you should apply at our CSMCE Application Portal.
  • First-year student:We define “first-year student” as a student who was either a high school student during the 2020-21 academic year or who graduated from high school in a previous year and has not previously attended college. Note that having taken college courses while still in high school or having attained sophomore standing because of advanced credit does not disqualify a first-year student from applying for a STEM CONNECT scholarship.
  • We also welcome applications from non-traditional students who previously pursued a technical program of study at a community college or who have been out of college for an extended period and have no more than 30 credits applicable to a STEM major.

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

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.
  • Proven curriculum. STEM CONNECT Scholars will have the opportunity to take special sections of five courses with their cohort during their first two years of support: two mathematics courses, two computer science courses, and a 1-credit seminar. The courses will be offered at all three institutions.
  • Mentoring. Scholars will be supported by a network of mentors, including a faculty mentor who meets regularly with mentees and participates in program activities, a peer mentor, and a staff adviser. Many STEM CONNECT Scholars also will have the opportunity to work as a Peer Mentor or a Learning Assistant and thus mentor newer STEM CONNECT Scholars.
  • The STEM CONNECT Seminar. Starting in Fall 2020, all STEM CONNECT Scholars will 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. Once each month, the seminar will be held jointly on all three campuses using Zoom and will feature a guest speaker.

In the News:

Business Insider: College majors with high salaries post-graduation

CERIC of Canada: Why diversity is crucial to success in STEM


What you need to know

  • STEM CONNECT Scholarships are need-based, with a maximum of $8,000/year. 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.
  • Scholarships are renewable subject to the program’s eligibility criteria for up to four total years at UNL or for two years at SCC or WNCC. SCC and WNCC students who transfer to UNL are eligible for two additional years of support at UNL.
  • At UNL you must be majoring in mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering at the time the scholarship is awarded.
  • At SCC and WNCC, you must be in the academic transfer program at the time the scholarship is awarded, with a commitment to take math and computer science courses.
  • Scholars must maintain a 2.75 GPA in their first year of college or their first year after transferring to UNL and at least a 3.0 GPA in subsequent years. See our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for additional eligibility information.

Contact us with any questions at

Geigh Zollicoffer

The problems got more complex as time went on, and I decided to become a math major because I noticed a lot of the computer science problems could be solved using mathematical equivalencies. [My advice is to] start learning on your own time, and don’t just settle for the knowledge you learned in class.