National Science Foundation officials visiting local ‘STEM’ faculty and students

AUBURN – Representatives of the National Science Foundation’s Research in Disabilities Education program will visit Auburn University Monday, Feb. 22, to meet local faculty and students participating in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative, or STEM.

In October the NSF awarded $3 million to the Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities in STEM to help Alabama students with disabilities earn college degrees in science-related fields.

“The upcoming visit will let us highlight some of the great work being conducted by the alliance,” said STEM Director Overtoun Jenda, professor of mathematics and associate provost for diversity and multicultural affairs at Auburn University.

The alliance includes Alabama State University, Auburn University, Auburn Montgomery, Tuskegee University, Central Alabama Community College, Southern Union State Community College and the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind. It also includes six school districts in Lee, Chambers, Elmore, Montgomery, Macon and Tallapoosa counties and has an outreach component that covers the entire state.

“We will introduce the National Science Foundation officials to the alliance’s administrators, faculty and students,” Auburn Provost Mary Ellen Mazey said. “We want to develop lasting bonds of collaboration in math and science between the NSF and each institution.”

The one-day visit begins at 9 a.m. with presentations at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center, followed in the afternoon by visits with Auburn President Jay Gogue, Provost Mazey and Vice President for Research John Mason; Central Alabama Community College President Stephen Franks; Southern Union State Community College President Amelia Pearson; and Auburn Montgomery Chancellor John Veres.

The NSF grant funds peer-mentoring endeavors such as Bridge to the Baccalaureate and Bridge to the Post-Baccalaureate programs, as well as a Graduate Bridge program and summer research internships. It also provides mini-grants for research-based interventions at colleges and universities and it funds technology enhancements for Alabama Science in Motion, a program that provides high-tech laboratory experiences for high school students and professional development for teachers throughout the state.

Undergraduate students with disabilities participating in the Bridge programs will receive a renewable $2,000 stipend per academic year while participants in the Graduate Bridge program and summer research internships will receive $3,500 each. The Alabama alliance, one of nine such National Science Foundation-sponsored alliances in the country, will support 106 students with disabilities majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines each year.

More information is available at

Contacts: Charles Martin, (334) 844-9999 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (