NSF Funds Partnership to Advance Minority Participation in STEM Research

NSF Funds Partnership to Advance Minority Participation in STEM Research
VA-NC Alliance students
Credit: Shantavia Edmonds

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $5 million grant to fund the highly successful Virginia-North Carolina Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (VA-NC Alliance) program. The grant, submitted by the University of Virginia in cooperation with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, will fund this program for the next five years. The Virginia-North Carolina alliance was created by U.Va. 10 years ago to boost the number of underrepresented minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs.

According to data collected since the program’s inception a decade ago, the number of STEM degrees earned by underrepresented minority students at VA-NC Alliance partner schools has increased by more than 150 percent. As a partner in this alliance, NRAO will continue its long-standing support for its mission to provide research opportunities in STEM fields to students in historically underrepresented groups.

This NSF-funded effort supports more than 40 collaborative programs across the United States. The original partner schools in Virginia are George Mason University, Piedmont Virginia Community College, Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Tech. In North Carolina they include Bennett College in Greensboro, Elizabeth City State University, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, and St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh.

In addition to the NRAO, which previously worked with the alliance, new partners being added this year include Old Dominion University in Norfolk, and Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton.

“NRAO has been deeply involved in this outstanding program for many years,” said Lyndele von Shill, director of NRAO’s Office of Diversity & Inclusion, and co-investigator on the new NSF grant. “We are delighted to be officially part of the alliance and look forward to the research and contributions of the VA-NC Alliance student scientists.”

Students may apply for research positions with the alliance partners and the NRAO. Opportunities include work in Charlottesville at the NRAO’s Central Development Lab and Headquarters, and at the NRAO in Socorro.

These research experiences typically last 8-10 weeks. They each include a clear research goal, focus on data collection and analyses, and require a final project that communicates the students’ process, data, and results.

Additional details can be found at: https://news.virginia.edu/content/successful-stem-program-led-uva-nets-new-grant-expand

For more information, contact Lyndele von Schill at odi@nrao.edu.


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