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University Alliances Work To Improve Diversity In STEM
October 12, 2018

West Virginia University (WVU) continues to be part of a multimillion dollar effort across a 10-university alliance to support STEM education for underrepresented students in Appalachia.

Funded for a third phase by a five-year, $3.5 million National Science Foundation grant beginning fall 2018, the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) will examine underrepresented students’ perceptions of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and careers and work to improve recruitment, retention and graduation rates of these students.

Focused on undergraduate underrepresented students, the grant will continue to support experiential learning, stipends, workshops research activities and other activities at the alliance institutions.

Alliance-wide goals for the third phase include increasing the number of STEM bachelor’s degrees earned by underrepresented students to an average of 380 per year and have at least 50 percent of LSAMP graduates pursuing graduate programs.

According to information, the alliance has the potential to significantly impact the lives of up to 5,000 underrepresented undergraduate students in the two Appalachian states. Programs continue to be developed at the member institutions to attract greater numbers of diverse students to the STEM fields and increase retention.

As part of the first phase of LSAMP, which began in 2006, WVU offered three-week college algebra and pre-calculus courses for transitioning high school students and supported study abroad opportunities and summer undergraduate research.

Since phase two began, KY-WV LSAMP institutions granted 1,177 URM STEM degrees and enrolled an average of 2,306 students per year, surpassing their goals by 17.7 percent and 15.3 percent, respectively.

Led by University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, the principal investigator of the grant, the alliance of 10 higher education institutions includes WVU, University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Centre College, Marshall University, West Virginia State University, Bluegrass Community and Technical College and, new for phase three of the program, Jefferson Community and Technical College.

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