West Virginia First-Generation College Students Get Major Boost to STEM Opportunities

Newswise — West Virginia’s First2 STEM Student Success Alliance has received a total of $2,406,954 in new funding as part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) INCLUDES grant program, which helps to develop and maintain a diverse, innovative workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

This initiative in West Virginia is one of five such programs nationwide to receive NSF funding under this grant program.

The First2 STEM Student Success Alliance develops and pilots activities for rural, first-generation students attending West Virginia colleges and universities. These programs provide early, first-hand STEM research experiences and support student leadership through STEM skills development, peer mentoring, and student advocacy.

This new grant will also enable the program to expand on the success of the work of the previous two years, growing the Alliance across West Virginia, helping to greatly increase the number of successful college graduates in STEM in the state.

“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with many of the excellent educational institutions all across West Virginia,” said Karen O’Neil, director of the Green Bank Observatory, one of the leading institutions on the Alliance initiative. “In just a short time, this program has made a huge impact, both in increasing the opportunities for many of our rural, first-general college students. The Alliance will dramatically increasing the number of college graduates across the state in STEM fields.”

The success of the Alliance rests on three critical approaches. First, it improves student preparation for and transitioning to college. Second, it endeavors to replace ingrained institutional practices that stifle the development of STEM self-efficiency. Finally, it develops a FIRST2 Ambassadors program that guides undergraduate students to explore and minimize the disconnect between rural life and STEM education, while reaching out to hometown students, collegiate institutions and state legislators.

The First2 Student Success Alliance makes a long-term commitment to foster collaboration and document successful programs so similar practices can be used to help other rural states them develop their own STEM-capable workforce.

Finally, the First2 Alliance, which is part of the NSF INCLUDES program, will advance our knowledge of barriers to success and solutions that increase the success of aafirst-generation students in STEM.

“NSF INCLUDES was conceived as a sustained effort, a recognition that a problem as complex as the need to broaden participation in STEM requires a long-term, collaborative approach,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “After laying the groundwork through pilot projects, NSF INCLUDES is taking a significant step toward creating a true national network with these new awards.”

“Living in a rural area within the state, it is easy to see the huge influence this program can have, opening up many opportunities to West Virginia students and providing a path to success in the STEM fields that otherwise might be closed,” said O’Neil.

The co-investigators on the W.Va. Alliance include:

  • Sue Ann Heatherly, Green Bank Observatory, Principal Investigator, will coordinate communication between Alliance members and the National Science Foundation, and will be working with faculty from West Virginia State University, West Virginia University, Marshall University, and others to expand STEM internship opportunities for freshmen and sophomore STEM majors.
  • Erica Harvey, Fairmont State University, Principal Investigator, leading the Capacity Building Improvement team to build partnerships including industry/academic partnerships.
  • Gay Stewart, West Virginia University, Principal Investigator leading the Educational Research Program.
  • Sarah Riley, Director of the High Rocks Educational Corporation, Principal Investigator leading the College Readiness Improvement Team.
  • Joanna Burt-Kinderman, Pocahontas County Schools, and Dr. Kathryn Williamson, West Virginia University co-investigators leading the Undergraduate Student Agency Improvement Team.
  • Jan Taylor, Division of Science and Research, Higher Education Policy Commission, Principal Investigator, will lead the development of the First2 Alliance hub organization.
  • First Generation College Students attending West Virginia colleges and Universities who will participate in all improvement teams.
  • Caitlin Howley, ICF, will lead the External Evaluation

The Green Bank Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under a cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

In Other News…

Pride Month Statement

Pride Month is a time for celebration of LGBTQIA+ communities in commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. At AUI, we celebrate an environment that is safe and welcoming to all, and the strength that our diversity brings us.

Cyber Expert Wins FBI Community Leadership Award

Robert R. Wells, special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI has chosen a local cyber expert as the 2020 Director’s Community Leadership Award (DCLA) recipient for North Carolina. Torry Crass has been an invaluable partner to the FBI Charlotte field office since 2013.

2021 AUI Scholarship Recipients

Below are the fourteen winners of the 2021 AUI Scholarship conducted by International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. These students will each receive an award of $3,500 per year to aid in defraying expenses at the college or university of their choice.

ITL Development Director: “We are convinced that our proposal is solid and meets all the requirements”

In an interview with Nueva Mining and Energy Magazine, Ricardo Raineri, Director of Development of the Chilean Institute of Clean Technologies (ITL) refers to the criticism that has hovered over Corfo’s decision, arguing that “it is essential to understand and emphasize that our proposal is based on an open platform model ”.

West Virginia Students Contact International Space Station LIVE

Friday, May 7th at 8:00 AM EDT, students in rural West Virginia will experience this once in a lifetime opportunity. Green Bank Elementary-Middle School (GBEMS) will be contacting astronaut Mark Vande Hei on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Universe just Became More Accessible: Free Software for Exploring the Universe Through Sound

Today free software has been released to help the blind and visually impaired (BIV) explore the universe through sound. With the support from the National Science Foundation’s STEM+C program, Innovators Developing Accessible Tools for Astronomy (IDATA) brought together nearly 200 BIV and sighted students, teachers, astronomers and programmers from across the Nation to create this innovative software called Afterglow Access.

Nueva Mineria covers the importance of ICTL’s Open Science model pioneered by AUI

The ICTL is a Chilean clean technology institute that is committed to developing innovations in the mining, power, battery, manufacturing, and related industrial sectors. The Open Science model allows a larger community to access R&D facilities based on the merit of their proposals.

VIDEO: Multi-wavelength Observations Reveal Impact of Black Hole on M87 Galaxy

In 2019, a worldwide collaboration of scientists used a global collection of radio telescopes called the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) to make the first-ever image of a black hole — the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy M87, some 55 million light-years from Earth.

ACEAP Alumna Selected as Astronaut for SpaceX

Sian Procter, a participant in the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassadors Program (ACEAP) in 2016, has been selected as an astronaut by SpaceX. The Inspiration4 mission, scheduled to launch sometime after 15 September 2021, will orbit Earth for three days and conduct a variety of experiments.

New Images Reveal Magnetic Structures Near Supermassive Black Hole

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) — the worldwide collaboration that produced the first image of a black hole in 2019 — has produced a new image showing details of the magnetic fields in the region closest to the supermassive black hole at the core of the galaxy M87. The new work is providing astronomers with important clues about how powerful jets of material can be produced in that region.

You are now leaving AUI

You will be redirected to the related partnering organization's website.

You will be redirected to
in 4 seconds...

Click the link above to continue or CANCEL