Dr. Kazi Javed, an associate professor of chemistry at Kentucky State University, is hopeful that the university is on track to graduate more science, technology, engineering and math students with the help of funding from the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
“HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) produce 25 percent of African-American STEM students,” Javed says. “HBCUs are doing their share, but KSU has a long way to go.”
EPSCoR was initiated by the National Science Foundation in 1979 to encourage local action to develop long-term improvements in science and engineering enterprises. Kentucky joined EPSCoR in 1985 among a second cohort of state participants.
The amount of money KSU receives from EPSCoR has recently increased substantially for the next five years to 2.8 percent of total EPSCoR Track-1 funds. KSU received the third-largest percentage of the $24 million in funding after the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville.
At KSU, the money will be used to increase retention and the number of STEM graduates, Javed says.
Javed has been busy sorting through applications from STEM students for the $1,000 stipends, which will be granted to students each semester.
Some of the stipends will come from money available from the EPSCoR Track-1 funding. Others will be awarded stipends through the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.
LSAMP is designed to increase the quantity and quality of primarily African-American, Hispanic and Native American students pursuing STEM degrees. The EPSCoR program is open to all students.
For both programs, participants receive half the stipend in the middle of the semester and the other half at the end of the semester if all obligations are met.
All students must have at least a 2.6 grade point average, pass all STEM courses and participate in peer-led team learning twice a week.
“It serves as a huge incentive for them to attend the workshops as well as pass their courses,” Javed says.
Students in these programs will also have the opportunity to apply for summer research programs at UK.
For more information about the STEM programs, contact Dr. Kazi Javed at (502) 597-6722.