Grant supports university-wide STEM 'Pipeline' project
The trend in the US of a shrinking candidate pool in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) sectors was so alarming a few years ago that it sparked a call by the Information Technology Association of America and the National Academy of Sciences for policy to increase the number of STEM graduates and the number of computer specialists.
This fall, the School of Educational Innovation and Teacher Preparation at Arizona State University Polytechnic received $1.35 million in National Science Foundation funding for a 3-year year project to grow that candidate pool for the future. The program, “Prime the Pipeline Project (P3): Putting Knowledge to Work,” intends to increase high school students’ interest and achievement in science, mathematics and technology, as well as to update mathematics and science high school teachers’ knowledge of those subjects.
“The core element of P3 is engaging students in a scientific community where they will work on extensive long-term projects that are of high interest and require application of concepts and skills in mathematics, science, technology, and business,” said Carole Greenes, principal investigator and dean of the School.
The program will involve students, parents, math and science teachers, administrators and guidance counselors from the Chandler, Gilbert, Higley and Mesa school districts.
The grant includes design of projects or problems that students and their teachers will tackle in partnership with ASU faculty and scientists from business and industry. A number of these projects will involve the use of large databases, like those available from the Center for Disease Control, large grocery store sales records and USDA.
Initial project ideas include the food supply chain, from food safety and production practices to sales data, food consumption and health; biomedical science and health care application, focusing on characterizing the relationship of obesity and diabetes to food-buying patterns; crime mapping; and the economics of certain types of alternative energy.
The sheer scope and size of this program is enormous, and will involve many ASU faculty, along with Greenes, including professors Colleen Megowan-Romanowicz, Sethuraman Panchanathan, Timothy Lindquist, and Lakshmi Munukutla as co-investigators and Deborah Toolson as project director.
“Based on research, we believe our methods will be beneficial because of the collaborative transdisciplinary approach to problem-solving,” said Greenes. “The program will develop critical thinking, technology, computer and communication skills in high school students, better preparing them for entry into college in the STEM fields.”
The program also plans to incorporate a nine-week after-school component, two-week summer immersion institute, courses for teachers and mentor courses.
For more information or to get involved, contact Carole Greenes at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deb Toolson at email@example.com.
Chris Lambrakis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus