MGA Receives STEM Grant to Expand Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Thursday, July 11th, 2019
Middle Georgia State University (MGA) undergraduates pursuing science and math degrees will soon get opportunities to do more research, thanks to a new $50,000 grant.
The funds will allow faculty in those departments to expand independent research projects or student apprenticeships and to embed research opportunities in science courses. The University System of Georgia’s STEM IV Initiative recently awarded the grant, which is recurring and expected to continue through 2022, to MGA’s departments of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Statistics.
“The current model of undergraduate research at Middle Georgia State University impacts those students who seek out research opportunities and work individually or in a small group with a faculty member through, for example, apprenticeships,” said Dr. Dawn Sherry, chair of MGA’s Department of Natural Sciences. “The grant will help continue to fund these efforts, but a new emphasis will be on research in major courses. Given the many benefits of undergraduate research, making these research experiences available to all students in the program could have a significant impact on increasing student success in their courses and ultimately in their programs.”
STEM is an acronym that generally refers to an applied, interdisciplinary approach to teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Among the primary goals of the University System’s STEM initiatives are to increase the number of students majoring in those subjects to help the U.S. remain a viable innovator and economic competitor internationally.
Dr. Donna Balding, assistant chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, co-authored the grant application with Sherry. Other team members are Dr. Richard Kilburn and Duane Day from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, who have also overseen STEM grant activities in previous years and will continue to do so in the upcoming grant cycle. The Middle Georgia State University STEM grant team has been asked to play a leading role in assisting other institutions in the development of similar programs.
“This is a great opportunity for us to help more students find success in science and mathematics and provide them with the experience they need to either enter the workforce or graduate programs,” Sherry said.