UofM Awarded $1.7 Million Grant to Support Urban STEM Collaboratory Project

UofM one of three urban universities to receive NSF funding

September 24, 2018 - The University of Memphis is one of three urban universities to receive a portion of a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

The grant will support the Urban S-STEM Collaboratory project, which brings together the UofM, the University of Colorado at Denver and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to provide academic, social, professional and peer networking; career preparation; and scholarship support to approximately 150 engineering and mathematical sciences majors across the three institutions.

The UofM Herff College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, and College of Communication and Fine Arts will collectively receive $1.7 million for the project, $1 million of which will be dedicated to scholarships.

"I am very pleased that one aspect of this award enables the UofM to provide $1 million in scholarships to academically talented engineering and math students who demonstrate financial need – both currently enrolled students and incoming students – over the next five years," said Dr. John Haddock, professor and director of Graduate Studies in Department of Mathematical Sciences and co-principal investigator of the project.

"In addition to the scholarship funding, the Collaboratory will generate new knowledge for STEM educators by investigating a variety of mechanisms for supporting a diverse set of students in an urban context, including first-generation and underrepresented groups, in their development of a STEM identity – the lack of which is a fundamental reason that students often select out of STEM majors and careers," added Dr. Craig Stewart, associate professor and interim chair of the Communication Studies department and co-principal investigator.

"The program will offer students the unique opportunity to associate with a multi-urban community of scholars," said principal investigator Dr. Stephanie Ivey, associate dean for research in the Herff College and professor of Civil Engineering. "UofM students will benefit from campus-specific curricular enhancements, including participating in the West Tennessee STEM Hub's STEM Ambassador program. I am thrilled that we will be following the impact of scholarships and conducting research on improving retention, especially for underrepresented populations who don't always see themselves fitting in."

Additional co-principal investigators from UofM include Dr. Aaron Robinson, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Jim Campbell, professor of Mathematical Sciences.