The Amarillo Pioneer

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WTAMU Receives Major Stem Grant

"West Texas A&M University is the recipient of a federal grant totaling almost $1 million through the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support the recruitment, retention and graduation of low-income students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“Our world’s increasing reliance on technology and data means strong STEM-focused minds will continue to be in high demand, and we should give students in these fields every advantage to succeed,” John Cornyn, U.S. senator from Texas, said. “I applaud area leaders for their work to obtain this grant, and I’m grateful to the Trump administration for supporting students at West Texas A&M.”

The “Supporting Low-Income Students for Success in STEM Careers” grant was funded at $999,545. The grant’s start date is Jan. 15, 2019 and will run through Dec. 31, 2023 under the direction of WTAMU faculty members Dr. Nick Flynn, principal investigator and professor of biochemistry, Dr. Christopher Baird, assistant professor of physics, Dr. Donna Byers, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Greg McGovern, instructor and lab coordinator of chemistry.

The grant will support scholarships for two cohorts of 15 students each who are majoring in biology, biotechnology, environmental sciences, wildlife biology, chemistry and physics at WTAMU. Each student will receive peer and faculty mentoring, relational coaching, leadership training and career skills development.

Faculty members working on the grant also plan to improve retention with the redesign of gateway courses and labs in biology, chemistry and physics. The course redesign also will strive to improve learning and student success by improving the racial/ethnic disparities in course performance and strengthening connections between the low-income STEM students, their classmates and available support services on campus.

“We are extremely excited about the opportunity that NSF gave us with this grant,” Flynn said. “It will have a tremendous impact on our two departments and will help increase student success in the six courses undergoing redesign.”

Results of the project will be shared with faculty at other institutions through meetings and conferences associated with the specific disciplines. 

For more information, contact Flynn at 806-651-2542 or"

-West Texas A&M University

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