Southern to lead STEM challenge - Friday, November 20, 2009
Southern University’s Department of Rehabilitation and Disabilities
Studies has received a $1 million National Science Foundation (NSF)
grant to design and operate a program to help students with
disabilities succeed in the areas of science, technology, engineering
The grant, from the National Science Foundation
for the Minority-Disability (MIND) Alliance Project for Students with
Disabilities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
(STEM) disciplines, is part of a $3.1 million grant co-sponsored by
Hunter College of the City University of New York.
Southern’s grant will run through 2014.
is a unique collaboration of two minority institutions of higher
education to enhance participation of students with disabilities in
STEM,” said Madan Kundu, director of the MIND Alliance Project at
Southern. Kundu is also Professor and Chair of Southern Department of
Rehabilitation and Disabilities Studies.
The MIND Alliance
Project is aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of students
with disabilities receiving associate, baccalaureate and graduate
degrees in STEM disciplines and entering the STEM workforce. Disabled
students are underrepresented in these fields.
“Southern is well
poised to lead this challenge,” Kundu said, adding that the university
has operated major mentoring initiatives in the past, such as the
nationally acclaimed Timbuktu Academy and the Strengthening Minority
Access to Research and Training (SMART) program. “The expertise
developed by STEM faculty involving students without disabilities will
now be modified for application on students with disabilities,” Kundu
The department is using the funds to design and provide
evidence-based educational and career development services to secondary
school students with disabilities who are interested in pursuing
post-secondary education in STEM fields; retain and mentor secondary
and post secondary students with disabilities in STEM and supporting
undergraduate students with entry into graduate programs and/or
employment in STEM fields.
The project is planning a Fall
Enrichment Institute in Science for undergraduate students with
disabilities in Louisiana. The students will be required to complete an
undergraduate class in STEM at their respective community colleges or
universities with at least a B grade, participate in career assessment
and exploration, and attend field visits, career days, job readiness
workshops, the MIND Alliance Annual Conference, and receive mentoring
Upon completion of all activities the students will receive a $350 stipend.
the summer, the project conducted an intensive week-long High School
Summer Institute in STEM for 32 students with disabilities from Capitol
High, Istrouma High Magnet, Port Allen High, Louisiana School for the
Visually Impaired, South Terrebonne High, Terrebonne High, and Ellender
The project provided mentoring, career assessment, and exploration training for the students.
students were exposed to career opportunities in physics, chemistry,
mathematics, computer science and engineering,” said Alo Dutta,
principal investigator of the project and assistant professor of the
Department of Rehabilitation and Disabilities Studies. “The
participants received a certificate of achievement and $200 stipend.”
more information about the MIND Alliance Project, please contact Dutta
at 225-771-0047 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or Kundu at 225-771-2819
or e-mail email@example.com.