East Georgia State College received a grant from the University System of Georgia that focuses on undergraduate research and mindset. The STEM IV Initiative Grant is for $50,000 annually for three years. Currently, EGSC is in the second year of the grant.
The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia has supported the USG STEM Initiative since 2007 as a method to increase the quality and number of graduates from the State of Georgia’s colleges and universities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
To apply for the grant, EGSC had to complete a detailed application. In the application a campus team lead, Dr. David Chevalier, and a development team was created. The group then formed a statement of institutional focus and student needs and formed a topic area as the main focus for their STEM IV Initiative Program. After selecting the program, the members proposed activities and a timeline as well as a plan for how they plan to collect data for evaluation. The campus team also created a sustainability plan and budget for the grant.
Since its launch, the STEM Initiative has had three key objectives. Those objectives are readiness, STEM success, and STEM educator preparation. Readiness is included in an effort to increase the number of K-12 students prepared for and interested in STEM majors in college. The second objective, STEM success, hopes to increase the success rates and number of students in college who pursue the STEM disciplines. Educator Preparation, the third objective, is the effort to increase the number of teachers who are prepared in science and mathematics.
Transformative work supported by the STEM Initiative has had a positive impact across the System. Because of this work, there have been increases in STEM enrollment, improvements in passing rates for STEM core courses, and increases in the number of STEM degrees awarded.
The EGSC STEM IV grant focuses on undergraduate research and growth mindset. The principal investigator (PI) of the grant is Dr. David Chevalier, interim Dean for the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Dr. Sandra Sharman, Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, and Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp, Professor of Biology, are the co-PI's. Senior members of the grant include Dr. John Cadle, interim Biology Chair; Dr. Breanna Simmons, Professor of Biology; Dr. Julius Schneider, Professor of Biology;Dr. Paul Cerpovicz, Professor of Chemistry; Dr. Carmine Palumbo, Professor of English and Director of the Study Abroad; and Mr. David Strickland, Professor of Sociology. Mr. Strickland oversees the mindset activities and Dr. Palumbo of the study abroad. Drs. Cadle, Simmons, Schneider and Cerpovicz supervise the undergraduate research.
"The STEM IV grant from the University of System of Georgia provides new opportunities for Biology majors to perform a research project. Undergraduate research leads to the broadening and deepening of classroom learning and the development of problem solving and critical skills. Our students will be better prepared to succeed in the next stage of their career," said Dr. Chevalier.