ABAC Partnership in $3M Grant Opens Door for Students

Staff Report From Tifton CEO

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Minority students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and math programs at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College will have a new scholarship opportunity available to them in the 2019 spring semester.

By partnering with Columbus State University, Columbus Technical College, Georgia Southwestern State University, South Georgia Technical College, and Valdosta State University, ABAC is working to increase opportunities for students in STEM programs. Columbus State recently received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to take the lead in this regional effort to create a scholar program for 140 STEM students at the six institutions over the next five years.

The grant creates the first ever Southwest Georgia consortium of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation. The consortium, or the Southwestern Georgia STEM Pathways Alliance Program, will strive to increase the number of minority students interested in earning baccalaureate degrees, master’s degrees and/or doctorates in STEM fields. As part of the program, a total of 28 underrepresented minority students a year will be selected for the LSAMP scholar program.

“The LSAMP grant is a wonderful opportunity for ABAC, providing research, mentoring and scholarship opportunities for minority students,” Dr. Johnny Evans, Dean of the ABAC School of Arts and Sciences, said.  “The LSAMP grant is not just about academics, but about a holistic approach to educating students.  This grant helps us to continue our mission of helping our graduates prepare for life.”

Students selected for the scholar program will receive a stipend, mentoring, research and internship opportunities, invitations to research conferences, and can prepare for the Graduate Research Examination. Scholars will meet monthly with one another at their individual institutions, as well as annually with other scholars in the consortium. They will learn to complete and present research, as well as network in a professional environment. They will also be encouraged to attend national conferences and pursue additional research through the National Science Foundation.

To be eligible for the program, an applicant must be an underrepresented minority student enrolled at one of the partnering institutions, pursue a degree in an approved LSAMP STEM discipline, maintain a 3.0 grade point average or higher and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is at least 18 years old. Some benefits of the program, such as guest speaker presentations, will also be available to students at the six institutions who are not in the scholar program.

ABAC Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jerry Baker notes, “Participating in the consortium will let us leverage our resources and collectively achieve success in assisting minority students interested in careers in STEM.”

As a part of the agreement, Columbus State will bring representatives from the institutions together to determine the best practices for preparing undergraduate STEM students for graduate level research.