Philander Smith College Receives $1.7 Million Grant to Expand Students’ Interests in STEM Careers

Philander Smith College’s Division of Natural and Physical Sciences received a $1.75 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program. The program aims to increase the number of minorities graduating from an HBCU with degrees centered on careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Philander Smith College received the first phase of this project’s funding in 2006 with an allocated amount of $3 million. That funding phase expires in February 2013. The second phase of the project’s $1.75 million grant extends from Oct. 1, 2012 to Sept. 30, 2017.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Philander Smith College to continue recruiting students interested in pursuing stable, prosperous careers,” said Dr. Frank James, Vice President of Academic Affairs, who is among the faculty overseeing the project. “We use this funding to offer courses that enrich students’ minds and prepare them for careers that secure their futures.”
Drs. Samar Swaid, Cynthia Burroughs and Chantia Hickman work with Dr. James to develop courses, programs, partnerships and seminars to carry out the terms of the project. Their curriculums under the project aim to increase students’ success, retention and persistence in STEM education. These courses also strengthen students’ preparation for graduate and medical school entrance exams. These faculty members work to enhance our current STEM undergraduate research infrastructure; improve STEM education by developing and implementing Transformative Cyber infrastructure-based Strategy in Teaching and Learning; and effectively prepare incoming high school students for transitioning into college-level STEM courses.
“We hope to experience continued growth in STEM at Philander Smith College as our STEM majors have increased from 81 in 2007 to 221 in 2011. This can be directly related to student interests evolving to more scientific fields. The HBCU-UP grant funded by the National Science Foundation has influenced these numbers, as well.” said Dr. Frank James.