Cornerstone Bank pledges $34,500 to Worcester State University Program

Cornerstone Bank, a community bank with 12 locations throughout Central Massachusetts, is proud to announce its renewed sponsorship of the Worcester State University Bridge to Excellence: Summer STEM Retention Program. The Bank is providing $11,500 per year over the next three years for a total of $34,500 by 2024 to help the program’s incoming science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) majors. The goals of the program are to strengthen the school’s retention in these important fields and help more students complete their degree. This is the second three-year sponsorship pledge Cornerstone Bank has made in support of this program

“We had the opportunity back in 2018 to sponsor the pilot program, which was a great success,” said Cornerstone Bank President and WSU Alumni Association and Foundation Board Member Randy Webber. “We are happy to extend our commitment to give students some much-needed support toward obtaining their degrees in vital STEM fields. The transition to the first year of college is a big one, and the extra support students receive through this program helps ensure they can be successful.”

The First-Year Summer STEM Bridge Program will expand in size and scope during this second phase of the pilot. "Worcester State University is thrilled to continue this important partnership with Cornerstone Bank to build on the success of the Bridge to Excellence: Summer STEM Retention Program,” said Vice President of University Advancement Thomas McNamara. “We know that our students will benefit from a strong STEM education as many of them become leaders in our shared Central Massachusetts community. Under the leadership of WSU Alumnus Randy Webber, Cornerstone Bank is helping to advance academic excellence and ensure a bright economic future in our region."

This program is a unique opportunity to participate in a three-credit research course experience utilizing the Tiny Earth Initiative which is a partnership of 150 universities and schools globally, in essence to crowdsource antibiotic discovery. The curriculum centers on introducing students in introductory biology courses to a discovery-based laboratory series in which students will perform hands-on field work. While based in a biological system, this work is truly interdisciplinary and incorporates concepts and skills from all STEM disciplines. “During our initial sponsorship, our contribution helped Worcester State support 60 students,” continued Webber. “We are excited to see this program grow, helping more students pursue their passions in fields that are increasingly in demand.”