Dr. Wangari Maathai STEM Fellows

The Dr. Wangari Maathai STEM Fellows program provides unique opportunities for the professional development of talented students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Engineering, Math, Computer Science, Physics, Astronomy and Psychology.

About Dr. Wangari Maathai

Dr. Wangari Maathai

Benedictine College is the only Catholic college in America to boast of an alumna who is a Nobel Peace Laureate. Dr. Wangari Maathai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contributions to sustainable development, democracy and peace. The native of Kenya graduated from Atchison’s Mount St. Scholastica College, now Benedictine College, with a degree in biological science in 1964. She went on to become the first African woman to be awarded any Nobel Prize.

Program Overview

The Fellows will attend lectures from the region’s STEM professionals, gain exposure to other STEM fields and earn eligibility to compete for funding (awards of up to $2,000) to support a senior research project.


  • Fellows will be required to join a STEM-oriented campus club or organization
  • Fellows will be required to participate in two STEM-related outreach events per year
  • Fellows must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • Fellows must make appropriate progress toward major requirements in a STEM field


Fellows will enroll in a one-credit STEM research seminar each semester during their freshman year, and for one semester of their choice during their sophomore year.

The seminar will consist of presentations made by regional STEM professionals and industry leaders from across various STEM fields. This course gives students weekly exposure to cutting edge research questions and methodologies from expertise outside of the College.

Research Project

During their junior year, Fellows are eligible to work with faculty from their respective departments to generate a high quality research proposal for a Senior Research Project. These proposals will include an extensive literature review and will be evaluated by departmental committees and external expertise when appropriate.

Funds of up to $2,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis. Seniors will present their findings in a public event during their last semester of residence at Benedictine College.

Join the Fellows

Eligibility Requirements

The STEM Fellows invite the following groups of admitted students to apply:

  1. STANDARD: Students who demonstrate a minimum high school GPA of a 3.5 and minimum 27 ACT, 1260 SAT, or 87 CLT.
  2. TEST-OPTIONAL: Test-optional applicants who submit an official high school transcript showing a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  3. SLIDING SCALE: Students whose individual combination of GPA and test score merits eligibility consideration based on a sliding scale.
  4. STEM MAJORS: Students who intend to major in a STEM field.


Submit the online application by December 15 for acceptance the following fall.

  • Include description of past STEM experiences (e.g. research, AP coursework, college-level coursework)
  • Demonstrate a commitment to pursue a career in a STEM field
  • Have a letter of reference from a science teacher or working STEM professional that speaks to the candidate's potential to work in a STEM field

Apply to the Program


Have questions about the Dr. Wangari Maathai STEM Fellows?

Dr. Terry Malloy

Terry Malloy, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of Biology