NSF grant enables UGA to expand statewide STEM program

University awarded $2.5M for program benefiting underrepresented students

A highly successful UGA-led statewide alliance has just received a major boost in federal funding to increase participation in STEM fields among students from underrepresented groups.

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Georgia $2.5 million to expand the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) – a coalition of six public colleges and universities in Georgia formed to increase the number of underrepresented students statewide who complete undergraduate and advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The initiative provides academic enrichment, professional development, financial support, peer and faculty mentoring, and research opportunities for students. Initiatives include summer research programs, GRE test preparation, faculty mentor programs, academic planning and advising seminars, tutoring and K-12 outreach, and STEM career planning.

Faculty, staff and students at UGA are joined in this alliance by their counterparts at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University-Perimeter College, Kennesaw State University and two historically black universities: Fort Valley State University and Savannah State University.

“As Georgia’s flagship public institution, we are proud to lead the Peach State LSAMP, which has created new opportunities for thousands of students statewide,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We greatly appreciate the National Science Foundation’s continued support of this successful alliance.”

Since the launch of the Peach State LSAMP alliance in 2006, there has been a 325% increase in enrollment of students from underrepresented groups in STEM fields and a 550% increase in the number of these students graduating with baccalaureate degrees in STEM at UGA alone.

The new federal funding will enable Peach State LSAMP to partner with faculty from the alliance’s institutions to launch Technology Training Workshops that will prepare students with high-demand scientific and emerging technical skills required for 21st century STEM careers. Workshop subjects will include:

  • Data science
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Scanning electron microscopy

“Our goal is to ensure that LSAMP students are not only completing STEM degrees but also are highly competitive and prepared to pursue a wide range of career pathways, including graduate and professional school,” said Senior Vice Provost Michelle Cook, who serves as the initiative’s principal investigator. “These workshops will provide students with the knowledge and critical skills they will need to be successful in their chosen professions.”

The new NSF award also will provide funding for the alliance to study the impact of faculty-led research opportunities for underrepresented students.

Building on its successes, the Peach State LSAMP recently developed a new partnership with the Georgia Research Alliance to help underrepresented students pursue or continue scientific research.

The Peach State LSAMP and GRA developed a pilot program last summer called GRA Student Scholars, which allowed for 10 of Georgia’s university students to work alongside some of the state’s most accomplished scientists and engineers. This year, the program is funding 15 LSAMP students to engage in research at five institutions in Georgia: Augusta University, Clark Atlanta University, Emory University, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia.

For more information about the Peach State LSAMP, please visit https://pslsamp.uga.edu.

Technology