UOG awarded $2.3 million for STEM capacity-building program

UOG awarded $2.3 million for STEM capacity-building program

UOG awarded $2.3 million for STEM capacity-building program


Partners of the NSF INCLUDES grant program.
Partners of the NSF INCLUDES grant program.
(From left) Alyssa Taitano and Laura Gombar, display their seed collecting booth
(From left) Alyssa Taitano and Laura Gombar, display their seed collecting booth at the STEM & Sustainability Expo held by the INCLUDES program

The University of Guam has been awarded a $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help grow the number and diversity of students who are interested in and eventually seek careers in STEM fields. This grant is part of the $17 million in total grant funding being managed by the University of Guam, $9 million of which is from the National Science Foundation.

The “NSF Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners in Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES): Supporting Emerging Aquatic Scientists Island Alliance” — or “NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Island Alliance” — is a comprehensive national initiative to enhance U.S. leadership in discoveries and innovations by focusing on diversity, inclusion, and broadening participation in STEM at scale.

The program, which builds on the success of a two-year pilot program awarded to the University of Guam in 2017, will start this November and continue for a five-year period, providing marine and environmental science opportunities for more than 95 high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and early-career professionals.

Nicole Imamura provides a demonstration on potting plants to children
Nicole Imamura, right, provides a demonstration on potting plants to children during the STEM & Sustainability Expo
“It is very encouraging to see the inclusion of islanders in STEM valued by the National Science Foundation,” said Austin J. Shelton, principal investigator of the grant. “A true diversity of people, thoughts, and experiences is needed to solve the most pressing challenges of today. Islanders have unique perspectives and contributions to make in science. This grant provides a substantial opportunity to increase our region’s STEM capacity.”

Participants will benefit from paid scientific research experiences, faculty and near-peer mentorship, travel to present research at national conferences, family support programs, and professional development. All participants will engage in educational outreach to spread STEM awareness in the community.

A bridge program will be created for students from regional colleges in Micronesia to attend a UOG summer research experience. Undergraduates will also be able to participate in a doctoral bridge program at Pennsylvania State University.

NSF INCLUDES Science Fair winners Anica Camacho, Jerome Ariola, and Isabella Certeza
NSF INCLUDES High School Science Fair second-place winner Anica Camacho, first place winner Jerome Ariola, third-place winner Isabella Certeza
Individuals interested in marine and environmental science from the University of Guam, Guam Community College, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands will be eligible for the program.

The new INCLUDES SEAS Island Alliance is one of three new funded INCLUDES alliances. It is part of a collaborative project with the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico aimed at broadening participation of islanders in STEM fields. The total funding for all alliance partners is $10 million over five years.

Background from the National Science Foundation:

NSF INCLUDES Alliances develop partnerships among stakeholders across the public, private, and academic sectors, share promising practices for broadening participation and other useful data, contribute to the knowledge base on broadening participation in STEM through research, and establish a framework for supporting communications and networking among partners.

For decades, NSF and its partners have sought to create opportunities in STEM for all U.S. residents, ensuring that no matter who they are or where they come from, they have access to education and employment. NSF INCLUDES, one of the foundation's Big Ideas for Future Investment, seeks to enhance collaboration among those working to broaden participation in STEM, to strengthen existing relationships, bring in new partners and provide resources and support to enhance their work.