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National Science Foundation Grant #DUE-1154407


In the “Pathway to Success through Physics Scholarship (PS)2” project, the Department of Physics at Alabama A&M University (AAMU) is augmenting educational opportunities and increasing the leadership potential for underrepresented students majoring in physics. A comprehensive package of student support, education enrichment, research opportunities, career exploration, and job placement is offered to participating scholars who are seeking a B.S. degree in Physics. Other activities include a synergistic provision of quality classroom and supplementary instruction, STEM-related workshops and seminars, opportunities for personal growth, and a culture of connection with peers and faculty. A total of eighty scholarships, each at $7,000/year per student, for a period of four years, are being awarded to twenty academically talented but financially challenged students.

The (PS)2 project builds on an array of activities at AAMU that support, on a continuing basis, various avenues to strengthen academic offerings in STEM disciplines, all in the effort to keep students interested and motivated in the field of physics. These efforts include multi-layered mentoring, advising, and performance tracking to ensure student persistence and progression to degree completion. An important component of the learning experience involves infusion of the excitement of real world scientific research, aiming to instill the skills and confidence students need to enter the STEM workforce. The participants are encouraged to gain experience in performing research and present findings to a variety of audiences, including dissemination of their results in local, regional, and national scientific conferences focused on undergraduate research.

Through this project, AAMU is broadening the participation of members of socioeconomically underrepresented groups who enter STEM disciplines. Many of these students are first generation college students coming from financially challenged environments. The project is creating a pipeline for recruitment of talented, but financially disadvantaged students, enabling AAMU to further test its collaborative student-support model for success. Data collected by the project contributes to the body of knowledge that addresses effective approaches to recruiting, retaining, and successfully graduating African-American and other minorities in physics.

PI: Dr. Vernessa Edwards, Co-PIs: Dr. Padmaja Guggilla, and Dr. Ashok Batra

For more information see the File:PS2-Flyer.pdf