October 7, 2021 Fran LeFort
A $3 million National Science Foundation grant has been awarded to Washtenaw Community College (WCC) and five other colleges and universities through MI-LSAMP (Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation) to increase equity in STEM fields.
The statewide alliance includes the lead institution of University of Michigan, as well as Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and Mott Community College. The schools have been collaborating since 2017 on an earlier $4.25 million NSF-funded phase of the MI-LSAMP program.
MI-LSAMP provides a learning community to increase retention, graduation and success among traditionally underrepresented minority students by expanding opportunities in STEM.
“Opening STEM doors to minority students is critical to our shared goal of increasing equity and is especially important as we quickly forge new ground in mobility, smart cities and technological advancements that will shape tomorrow. We are pleased to continue partnering with MI-LSAMP and the other schools in this mission,” said WCC President Dr. Rose B. Bellanca.
The six institutions will each create and drive their own school-specific initiatives, with some shared programming.
Like the previous award, the new grant will also be distributed over a five-year period and focused on research-driven models to increase participation and success for underrepresented students.
WCC offers a summer intensive, three weeks of speakers and workshops on careers and transfer information, including visits, to four-year universities. The summer program concentrates on life and team skills, conflict management, critical thinking, financial literacy, financial aid and study skills. Students also participate in research opportunities and internships in computer engineering, math, physics, biology, chemistry and health sciences.
Additionally, WCC offers an overlapping STEM Scholars program, which includes dedicated advisors, mentors and tutors and weekly lunch-and-learn sessions throughout the school year. Each fall an average of 60 new students join the cohort. Applications for new student STEM Scholars are being accepted for the Winter 2022 semester.
Named in honor of former congressman Louis Stokes, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) is an NSF-funded program intended to support historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields.