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NSF Awards $2 Million to U of M to Help Increase STEM Graduates
For release: August 22, 2008
For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901-678-2843

The University of Memphis has received a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of the NSF’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP). The goal of NSF-STEP is to increase the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents with undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

The MemphiSTEP Project focuses on recruitment, retention, and persistence to graduation in order to increase the number of majors and graduates throughout the STEM programs at the University of Memphis.  The project concentrates on all stages of a STEM student’s undergraduate experience, beginning with recruitment to the institution.

It combines the strengths of the University’s support infrastructure with efforts and expertise of faculty, staff, students, administrators, and the professional community, and builds on research, best practices, and the local knowledge base. Major strengths of the project are its comprehensive nature, with its numerous coordinated components, and its all-encompassing approach to focus on all STEM students.

Dr. Stephanie Ivey, assistant professor of civil engineering, and Dr. David Russomanno, holder of the R. Eugene Smith Professorship at the U of M and chair of electrical and computer engineering, both on the faculty of the U of M’s Herff College of Engineering, are co-principal investigators for the project, along with Dr. John Haddock, professor of mathematical sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences and Ms. Regina Hairston, who serves as counselor to STEM students participating in a number of NSF sponsored programs. Dr. Don Franceschetti, Dunavant University Professor of physics and chemistry in Arts and Sciences, is the principal investigator.

Additional information about the MemphiSTEP Project is available from any of the four professors mentioned above; they may be reached by calling the Herff College of Engineering at 901-678-2171 or the College of Arts and Sciences at 901-678-3067.

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