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WKU participating in diversity initiative funded by NSF grant

WKU is joining eight other higher education institutions across Kentucky and West Virginia on a five-year, $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto will serve as the lead principal investigator on the grant supporting efforts by the Kentucky-West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). The alliance is comprised of nine colleges and universities that include WKU, UK, University of Louisville, West Virginia University, Centre College, Marshall University, Kentucky State University, West Virginia State University and Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

The primary focus of the grant is on undergraduates and funds will be distributed among the schools as a means to support high-impact activities such as undergraduate research. Data from the respective institutional members indicates that the alliance has the potential to impact the academic achievement of up to 5,000 underrepresented undergraduates in the two Appalachian states. Unique programs will be implemented at each institution to increase the number of underrepresented students to STEM fields and increase retention and graduation up to 500 students over the next five years.

WKU is not new to the Kentucky-West Virginia Alliance and has been a member since its inception. Dr. Charles McGruder, Professor in Physics and Astronomy, has served as WKU’s LSAMP campus coordinator and been responsible for programs and activities on campus.

“We are very pleased that NSF has granted WKU another five years funding for LSAMP,” Dr. McGruder said. “During the first period WKU excelled in research activities. Our students won awards in every LSAMP conference they participated in. We will maintain this high level of achievement in the next phase and continue to send them on to graduate schools to obtain advanced degrees.”

WKU President Gary Ransdell also expressed his gratitude at the continued NSF support.

“These are the students who will create the new technologies we will need in the future—and they will be leaders in our communities,” he said.

Contact: Joelle Davis Carter, (270) 745-6169.

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