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NSF Awards AAMU $2.2M for INSPIRE Project

August 09, 2021

Unique STEM Support for College and Middle School

Huntsville, Ala. ---- Alabama A&M University has received a $2.2 million National Science Foundation grant to assist in the retention and graduation rates of its science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students.   The five-year project will simultaneously work to improve the mathematics skills of middle school-aged students and help them develop interest in STEM fields. 

AAMU grant facilitators are calling INSPIRE (Introducing STEM to Provide Incentives for Research and Education) “an innovative, focused approach” to enhance STEM education at AAMU. 

SchamschulaAccording to Dr. Marius Schamschula, who serves as the principal investigator (PI) for INSPIRE, the new STEM education and research program aims to enhance the quality of education. To achieve their ambitious goals, the project team will develop recitation sessions in key STEM gatekeeper courses (e.g., introductory science, engineering and math courses) and provide a Mathematics Outreach Program (MOP) for middle school students and teachers.  

This effort will allow the team earlier intervention in students’ math development by boosting math skills through tutoring at two key levels—college and middle school.  The middle school component will Inspireinclude the added component of attracting students to consider STEM disciplines.  The team will also hone in on opportunities to refine research experiences for STEM-related disciplines and to offer professional development for STEM faculty. 

In addition to PI Schamschula, professor of physics, project team members include (l-r) Dr. Mohammed Karim, professor of mathematics; Dr. Showkat Chowdhury, professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Pamela Arrington, associate vice president, faculty and undergraduate studies, Academic Affairs; Dr. Johanna Massey, assistant professor of elementary education; and Dianne Kirnes, program manager.  The project’s end date is July 31, 2026. 

- J. Saintjones