A Glimpse into the Encompass Program at Wilson College

By Moriah Story

Encompass: STEM for Lifelong Success is Wilson College’s merit-based scholarship program for select students in the fields of environmental science, biochemistry, biology and chemistry. The faculty involved in Encompass work with the students as mentors and provide one-on-one support for them as they navigate the world of increasingly complex study. This scholarship opportunity is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 

Acceptance into the program is based on financial need, GPA and aspirations in STEM fields. It is open to full-time undergraduate Wilson students in good academic standing within one of the approved scientific majors. There are currently six students in the program, spanning a range of interests and academic years. 

Lydia Story ‘24 is one such student in her second year of the Encompass Program, which officially launched in 2020. She is double majoring in biology and chemistry, and has been actively collecting and analyzing samples for the USDA for nearly a year through a Wilson College internship in the Biology Department. Wilson’s STEM scholarship program is what drew her to the college.

“Wilson offered me the most financial aid and had the most welcoming environment,” Story said, as she discussed the process of selecting a college.

She didn’t consider the possibility of going into a science-related field until she realized how much she enjoyed her upper-level STEM courses in high school. Of her passion for all things biology and chemistry, she said, “I realized that I really enjoyed [those classes] and could apply myself in that area and make a career out of it.”

Encompass has offered her the chance to get to know other students on the same career path. Despite a rocky start due to COVID-19, the faculty and students have been trying to find ways to connect with one another and foster an open discourse about their fields. Recent ideas include scientific field trips, competitive games and the creation of a Canvas page to host forums and discussions. 

Story recommends Encompass to future Phoenixes interested in STEM as a great way to build a support system and network with faculty and students during their time at Wilson. This program and her dual degrees will launch her toward her next step after graduation: a doctorate. She is deciding between the fields of phytochemistry, medicinal plants, pharmaceuticals or medicine discovery for her future studies. 

“I hope to become a professor one day,” Story said, “So I can feed back into my students the way my professors have fed into me.”

New students are accepted into Encompass: STEM for Lifelong Success each year. For more information about this opportunity, email encompass@wilson.edu or the head of the program, Dr. Dana Herriger, dana.herriger@wilson.edu

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