Universities Collaborate to Accelerate Development of Leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math

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February 3, 2011

Four of Michigan’s flagship universities and nine top community colleges are embarking on a newly expanded collaboration to accelerate statewide development of leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). At a February 3 kick-off event on the Lansing Community College campus, the institutions announced the reauthorization and expansion of the Michigan Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (MI-LSAMP).

The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Wayne State University established the MI-LSAMP in 2005, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF). They committed to significantly increase the number of under-represented minority students graduating with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math.

“Our state and nation need all the talented college graduates we can produce. Just last week, President Obama said that for America to compete globally, our nation must ‘out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.’ LSAMP answers that challenge, and we look forward to continued success at colleges and universities across Michigan,” said Mary Sue Coleman, president of the University of Michigan and principal investigator on the NSF grant.

During MI-LSAMP’s Phase I (2005–2010), award of these baccalaureates increased by nearly 50 percent.

In Phase II, nine of Michigan’s top community colleges are joining the alliance. The MI-LSAMP community college partners are: Grand Rapids Community College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kellogg Community College, Lake Michigan College, Lansing Community College, Macomb Community College, Muskegon Community College, Washtenaw Community College, and Wayne County Community College District.

"With the assistance of the NSF funding, we have been able to engage students in early research activities, and to leverage corporate support to provide additional engagement in the summer before the freshman year,” said Thomas Wolff, associate dean for Engineering Undergraduate Studies in the MSU College of Engineering. “These types of activities help both retention and academic success and enhance our ability to graduate a ready and diverse class of engineers to address tomorrow's technical challenges."

During Phase I, MI-LSAMP Scholars engaged in opportunities that included: a pre-first-year program to prepare for rigorous curricula as incoming freshmen, undergraduate research assistantships, and internships and cooperative education experiences. Phase II will continue these programs and initiatives, as well as add collaborations with the new community college members of the alliance.

More information on the MI-LSAMP program is available online at: http://www.egr.msu.edu/egr/departments/dpo/programs/milsamp/

Top photo: Zulhaj Choudhury, MSU computer engineering freshman, explains his research to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon during the MI-LSAMP kick-off event at Lansing Community College on Thursday, February 3, 2011.

Bottom photo: Rodney Singleton, MSU electrical engineering graduate student, poses with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon during the MI-LSAMP kick-off event at Lansing Community College on Thursday, February 3, 2011.