Georgia Tech is a new participant in the University System of Georgia (USG) STEM IV initiative, which was launched on October 29-30, in Athens, Georgia.
“The USG initiative addresses some key issues in promoting student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - or STEM; both for students who major in STEM fields and others who take STEM courses as a part of their non-STEM degree curriculum,” says David Collard, the College of
Sciences’ associate dean for academic programs.
With STEM IV, the USG STEM initiative now includes all 26 system institutions for the very first time, said Rosalind Barnes Fowler, USG’s director of public awareness and outreach. STEM IV is deeply connected to two other system-wide initiatives – the Momentum Year and Complete College Georgia – said USG Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Tristan Denley.
Georgia Tech will receive grant support from the USG STEM IV program to enhance the access of undergraduates to research opportunities in the College of Sciences, especially for first-year and sophomore students.
“Participation in undergraduate research provides exceptional opportunities for students to gain experience with experiment design, research skills, data analysis, and different modes of communication,” said College of Sciences Assistant Dean Cam Tyson. “It is the best way for students to begin to build their professional identities as scientists.”
“In addition to providing research stipends,” Emma Blandford said, “the USG grant will provide some additional support to the College of Sciences EXPLORE Living Learning Community, allowing us to increase our opportunities to connect first-year students with Georgia Tech researchers and the local scientific community.” Blandford is the assistant director of the EXPLORE program.
The EXPLORE program exposes students to research opportunities in Georgia Tech through a special section of the GT 1000 first-year seminar class. In addition, Blandford teaches a separate “Introduction to Research” course with Jennifer Leavey. Leavey, who is the faculty director of EXPLORE LLC, said the course “provides students with the skills and confidence to approach faculty so that they are successful in attaining a research position and transitioning into the research setting.”
The College of Sciences team will partner with the other USG institutions that are working to enhance their undergraduate research programs as part of the STEM IV initiative. The Tech team will also work with colleagues at other USG research universities: Georgia State University, the University of Georgia, and Augusta University. “While each of the research universities has its own distinct characteristics,” Collard said, “there is a strong sense that we can work together to create new opportunities for students throughout the state to engage and succeed in STEM.”
For more information about opportunities for Georgia Tech undergraduates as a part of the EXPLORE Living Learning Community, visit http://explorellc.cos.gatech.edu
For more information about USG’s STEM initiative, visit www.usg.edu/academic_affairs_and_policy/stem