The College of Science and Technology is expanding high school STEM student development and outreach efforts through the LOFSA LA GEAR UP program.
Dr. Mohammad Saadeh, department head of Industrial Engineering and Technology and Dr. Wendy Conarro, assistant director of Math Science Upward Bound, submitted and were awarded a four-year grant in partnership with LA GEAR UP to increase underrepresented students’ success in STEM.
A federally funded national initiative, LA GEAR UP (Louisiana Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) is supported by the U.S. Department of Education, which gives grants to states or institutions of higher learning to create partnerships with high-poverty middle or high schools.
This is the third GEAR UP grant awarded to the State of Louisiana. Louisiana was awarded a seven-year grant for $24.5 million in 2016.
In partnership with 16 school districts, LA GEAR UP aims to increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.
The Southeastern Science & Technology Interactive Learning Experience (STILE) program will connect 2019-2020 9th- and 10th-grade high school students with faculty and undergraduates through hands-on labs, in-school STEM days, summer camps, and other events. Each student will be provided with a pathway and mentoring to a STEM career that fits their STEM interests to fill the many high-paying, high-demand jobs that are currently going unfilled in Louisiana. Advanced students will be connected with internship opportunities and early college credits. The cohort model will support students with opportunities to grow and develop a post-secondary plan of action. Those students matriculating into Southeastern will be connected to and provided with support for retention in their chosen STEM degree programs.
This past summer, 47 rising 9th and 10th graders attended 1-2 weeks of the Southeastern STILE Summer Camp. Students developed friendships with each other, undergraduate students, and faculty as they progressed through eight experiential learning modules based on the Industrial and Engineering Technology degree programs. They toured the campus, had opportunities to explore campus in small groups, and recreated in the gym and pool.
This school year, LGU students will participate in Science Fair labs and a Science Olympiad Team to learn Next Generation Science Standards STEM practices and content to increase their awareness and preparation for post-secondary programs. In-school STEM Days will connect faculty and undergraduate students to high school teachers and students to increase STEM learning and career interest and to build STEM teacher capacity. In-school workshops will delve into life after college so students will see what their lives will be like as a STEM professional. Schools will also attend the Fall Science & Technology Open House for tours, demonstrations, financial aid, and admissions information.
Funding is for 2019-2020 and anticipated to be renewed annually until 2022-2023. The funding includes creating a new position for a director of the program.