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STEM@SLU Initiative Kicks Off With Crowdfunding Campaign


Timed to coincide with National STEM Day on Sunday, Nov. 8, Saint Louis University’s STEM programs have launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for STEM@SLU, a new University initiative designed to increase the stature of the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines at SLU.

Christy Bagwill, Ph.D., works in the organic chemistry lab in the Department of Chemistry at Saint Louis University.

Christy Bagwill, Ph.D., works in the organic chemistry lab in the Department of Chemistry at Saint Louis University. Photo by Steve Dolan

The crowdfunding campaign, which runs through Friday, Nov. 13, is part of a larger $30.5 million fundraising effort to support STEM@SLU.

Guided by recommendations made by the University’s Science and Engineering Task Force in 2018, STEM@SLU aims to tackle a number of issues in STEM education that cause a shortage of students pursuing STEM degrees, such as low high school graduation rates in economically disadvantaged areas and the cost of obtaining the post-secondary education often needed for STEM careers.

The University plans to ensure that SLU is a top choice for STEM students in the St. Louis area by increasing funding for student outreach, scholarships, top-notch STEM facilities and world-class faculty. In turn, SLU seeks to provide the STEM field with the professionals that are vital to solving complex global issues such identifying sources of sustainable energy, providing sufficient food supplies, distributing affordable and effective health care, and more. 

“Those people who are researching the newest viruses that are out there, the newest vaccines that we need, those are the students that are sitting in our classroom right now,” Christy Bagwill, Ph.D., coordinator of the organic laboratory in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, said. “And so, if we can inspire that student to stay engaged in the STEM field, and to stay engaged at Saint Louis University, they’re going to take that information and go all over the world with it.”

A grass-roots fundraising method, crowdfunding relies heavily on donors soliciting contributions via their personal networks, primarily by sharing information on social media. Faculty and staff are encouraged to help the crowdfunding campaign reach its $5,000 goal by making a gift and then spreading the word to friends and family.

Submitted by Elizabeth Semko.