What is the BLAST Program?

The BLAST program at Dominican University will support academically talented but financially challenged students, allowing them to complete a baccalaureate degree in the Biological Sciences in four years.  In addition, this program will provide a variety of resources proven to ensure student success and transition to a career in STEM.  

The goals of the BLAST program are to:

  • Increase opportunities for low income, academically talented university students that enable them to complete their BS degree in Biology within four years.
  • Enhance opportunities for talented students by providing internships, research, and mentoring experiences, thereby introducing them to careers that await them after their degree completion.
  • Assist students who wish to pursue opportunities in STEM graduate programs or seek employment in a STEM field.

What is the financial package for those accepted into the program?

Students may receive up to $40,000 from the BLAST program ($10,000 per year) for their four years at Dominican University.  These amounts can be added to TAP and Pell Grant awards.  The total financial package cannot exceed the estimated cost of attendance at Dominican University.  The Office of Financial Aid will determine a student’s financial need based on information submitted by the student in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

What is different about the BLAST Program?

As a BLAST Scholar, you will become part of a small, select group of Biology majors who will work together and with faculty, staff, and administration to ensure your success.  We will work together, with you, to ensure that you have the resources you need to excel in a Biology career.

You will have special opportunities for professional growth.  The BLAST program will connect you with a research PI from another institution who will serve as a mentor and host you in their laboratory.  You will have the opportunity to personally interact with seminar speakers who are invited to campus.  We will facilitate your placement in off-campus internships, and work closely with the Career Development Center to place you in a Biology career or graduate program upon graduation.

You will be participating in original research beginning in your freshman year.  Conducting research teaches you to teach yourself—a premier tool for success.  You will be able to present your freshman year research at a regional conference.  In your senior year, select BLAST scholars will have the opportunity to attend a national conference to present their senior capstone research work.  This research will also be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

What are the requirements for admission to the BLAST Program?

The application process is competitive and directed at academically strong students with demonstrated financial need who are considering careers in Biology or a related sub-discipline.

General Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a US citizen, permanent resident, national, or hold refugee status
  • Demonstrate financial need as obtained from the FAFSA report, which recipients are mandated to complete yearly
  • A cumulative high school GPA of at least a 3.0 out of a possible 4.0.
  • Be registered as a full-time, first-year student at Dominican University (12 credits or greater per semester) 
  • Be enrolled in the General Biology and Pathways to Biology sequence during their first year

Selection process:  To be considered, you will submit applications to Admissions following acceptance to Dominican University.  Your application will be supported by two recommendation forms and a personal statement on career aspirations.  High school transcripts are required by the University before acceptance, as well as transcripts that indicate any accruement of prior college or AP credits.  Enrollment will notify you of your acceptance no later than May 1, 2024.

Criteria for Retention and Renewal: Scholarships will be renewed each June, provided all eligibility requirements are met.  Scholarships are available for a maximum of four years. You must maintain an overall and science GPA of 2.5 by the end of your freshman year and should demonstrate reasonable effort in participating in BLAST activities.  By the end of sophomore year, you must have an overall and science GPA of 2.7 and 2.9 by the end of junior year.  At the end of the fall semester, if your GPA falls below the minimum or does not demonstrate a reasonable effort to participate in the BLAST activities, you will be encouraged to seek tutoring from the Academic Success Center.  Should you be dismissed from the BLAST program following unsuccessful demonstration of academic ability, waitlisted students will be considered as a replacement. 

How can I apply?

  1. Fill out and submit the Dominican University Admissions Application  
  2. Fill out and submit the BLAST Scholarship Application online. This application includes writing a personal essay and having two recommendation forms forwarded to us (see the application form for details).
  3. Fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form.

How can I get more information?

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact Dr. AnnMarie DelliPizzi, or visit our website.

Application For Blast Program

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and scholarships will be awarded depending on the funds and space.
Application Checklist
Cumulative grade averages
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Names and phone numbers of teachers or guidance counselor from whom you have requested a letter of support:
Please provide the following information, or attach your most current resume to the application.
List all academic honors, awards, and scholarships
List all significant school and community activities, leadership positions, extracurricular activities, etc
You may include any interesting work experiences (continue on a separate page if needed) in addition to any significant responsibilities that you have at home

Please attach to your application a short essay (about 500 words typed) explaining your specific interests in Biology, your career goals, your work habits, and your personal strengths.

Max. file size: 50 MB.
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