The University of Guam (UOG) was awarded nearly $300,000 from the National Science Foundation to conduct the NSF INCLUDES Launch Pilot project, GROWING STEM. The project will address the grand challenge of increasing Native Pacific Islander representation in the nation's STEM enterprise, particularly in environmental sciences.
"This grant is a great example of the University of Guam's impact on our island and its important role in developing future local professionals and problem solvers," said UOG President Dr. Robert Underwood.
Culturally-relevant and place-based research will be used as the framework to attract, engage, and retain Native Pacific Islander students in STEM disciplines. The full science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathway will be addressed from K-12 to graduate studies with partnerships that include the Guam Department of Education, Humåtak Community Foundation, the Pacific Post-Secondary Education Council, the Guam Science and Discovery Society, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.
The GROWING STEM project will be led by the UOG Center for Island Sustainability, UOG Sea Grant Program and the Guam EPSCoR Program. Dr. John Peterson, Dr. Austin Shelton, Else Demeulenaere and Dr. Cheryl Sangueza will serve as lead investigators. There will be opportunities to get involved for students at all levels of education--from summer internships for high school students all the way to graduate research projects. Professional development and community outreach activities will also help expand expertise and public understanding in environmental sciences.
"We have an exciting opportunity to put our local students on a pathway to attain doctoral degrees in science," said Dr. Austin Shelton, co-Principal Investigator. "Everything is centered around practical scientific research experiences aimed at improving the health of our land and ocean."