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Why the PROMISE Program?

Most Americans feel that they received a good education and that their children will as well.  Unfortunately, not many are aware that our country has been falling behind, particularly in the areas of math and science, when compared with our international competitors.  Fewer American students than ever are graduating from college with math and science degrees. As reported by the National Science Foundation, the interest of young Americans’ in science and technology has eroded over time. In 1960, one out of every six (17 percent) U.S. bachelor or graduate degrees was awarded in engineering, mathematics or the physical sciences but by 2001,  that number dropped to less than one in 10 (just 8 percent) of all degrees awarded in the U.S. 

Broader Impact of NSF Support for NIU 

The National Science Foundation’s support of the PROMISE Scholars Program means that NIU is part of the initiative

  • to revitalize the nation’s commitment to strengthen the pillars of American innovation and competitiveness – basic research in the physical sciences and math and science education. 
  • to prepare students for jobs of the future that will require a basic understanding of math and science. 
  • to invest in basic research in the physical sciences (chemistry, physics, materials, etc) that are essential elements in assuring America’s future economic prosperity. 
  • to enhance America’s global competitiveness through our ability to better educate our young people in math and science and to attract more of our best and brightest students into technological careers. 
  • to maintain the U.S.  position as the world’s leading innovator by a solid industrial base and increasing our standard of living.

NIU’s Role

NIU plays a major role in Illinois higher education because of its close proximity to Chicago and a goal of supporting college access and completion for its students.  To support these goals Northern Illinois University with funding from the National Science Foundation designed activities to cultivate and foster interest in academic achievement, research, and STEM careers