UNCG receives $3.4 M LSAMP grant to increase STEM student diversity among five UNC system schools

Posted on October 13, 2022

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Dr. Macolm Schug, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Biology, joins Provost Debbie Storrs as co-PIs on a new $3.4 M grant from the National Science Foundation to support underrepresented students in STEM disciplines. The collaborative grant sees UNCG as the lead institution of an alliance that includes four other UNC System schools: Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, UNC Wilimington, and Western Carolina University. Because the project spans the whole state, it is titled: Mountains to Sea North Carolina LSAMP.

LSAMP is the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation, an NSF program that supports university alliances and other projects focused on increasing degree attainment by students from groups that are historically underrepresented in STEM fields.

According to UNCG’s proposal materials, the five institutions “enroll a highly diverse population of approximately 100,000 students, roughly 80,000 of whom are undergraduates, with 17% declared in STEM majors. [Of these,] 3.9% come from ethnic or racial backgrounds that are underrepresented in STEM.”

Check out UNCG Research’s write-up: https://news.uncg.edu/3-4-million-nsf-grant-will-support-students-historically-underrepresented-in-stem/

The project abstract below, retrieved from the NSF website, provides more info.

The Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program assists universities and colleges in their efforts to significantly increase the numbers of students matriculating into and successfully completing high-quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to diversify the STEM workforce. Particular emphasis is placed on transforming undergraduate STEM education through innovative, evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, and relevant educational experiences in support of populations underrepresented in STEM disciplines: African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders. These strategies facilitate the production of well-prepared students who are highly qualified and motivated to pursue graduate education or careers in STEM.

For the United States to remain globally competitive, it is vital to tap into its citizens’ talent and provide exceptional educational preparedness in STEM areas that underpin the knowledge-based economy. The Mountain to Sea North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (M2S NCLSAMP) program has formed a new alliance in response to the need for a more diverse and skilled technical workforce. That need still exists and is particularly acute in the State of North Carolina. The five public comprehensive universities that make up the Alliance are Appalachian State University, East Carolina University, University of North Carolina Greensboro (lead), University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Western Carolina University. The goals of the Alliance are to 1) Build strong personal, professional, and disciplinary relationships across Alliance institutions; 2) Provide targeted, inclusive programming focused on supporting student transitions at critical moments in the student success pathway at Alliance institutions; and 3) Employ Alliance resources to provide more and better STEM socialization and professional development opportunities for students than they can receive on their home campuses alone. The parallel activities are projected to raise participant retention and graduation rates by 20% compared to matched non-participant students and indirectly affect many more through LSAMP student support programs available to all STEM students. In addition, assessment is designed to contribute new knowledge about how mid-sized public universities can work together to identify, address, and improve weaknesses in student support, especially at the key transition points at which the target student population disproportionally struggles.

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