The UCA STEM Institute Receives Grant for Prep Program
The UCA STEM Institute has received an $82,929 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education to improve the education of students choosing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The grant will be used to develop a college and career preparation course for 11th and 12th grade students to improve their college and workforce readiness and academic achievement.
The UCA STEM Institute, University College and College of Education are teaming up to work with five school districts Bigelow, Conway, Greenbrier, Mayflower and Vilonia on this project.
UCA – Preparing for College and Career Program will offer high school students four one-hour modules in math, reading, science and English. Students will also participate in the UCA Office of Career Services’ Jump Start program, a series of activities to connect students with career development choices by identifying appropriate careers and tying them to an appropriate major. Students will develop a four-year successful career plan and learn about the skills needed to succeed in the college.
Dr. Umadevi Garimella, the project director, will oversee the program. An advisory board, consisting of highly qualified high school teachers with experience teaching ACT Prep classes, will advise UCA faculty in developing course materials, assist in administrating assessments, analyze test data, and help tailor the program to the specific needs of the students.
In September 2011, the College Board released a report that states only 11 percent of U.S. students earn science and engineering bachelor degrees. This ranks the United States as 20th out of 24 industrialized countries in the percentage of 24-year-olds who had earned a first degree in the natural sciences or engineering. The U.S. is ranked 48th in the quality of its mathematics and science education by the World Economic Forum.
UCA STEM Joins the NASA Professional Development Network
The UCA STEM Institute, because of excellent past collaborations with NASA Education, has been admitted to the NASA Professional Development Network. Only a select group of high quality professional development providers are invited to collaborate with NASA Education to design and deliver ongoing professional development activities that can improve teaching and learning. The goal is to make a difference in STEM education, through collaborations that identify and serve appropriate audiences, providing them with sustained access to NASA resources and assets.
Dr. Debra Burris, associate professor of physics and astronomy, was awarded the 2012 Arkansans for Gifted and Talented Education Educator Recognition Award at its recent state conference. Dr. Burris was nominated for the award by the Atkins Middle School faculty where she helps facilitate an outreach program that focuses on integrating science throughout the middle school curriculum.
Dr. Linda Griffith, professor of mathematics, and Margaret Bambrick, a mathematics specialist at Volusia County Schools, Florida presented a national webinar on Pathways for Implementing TI-Nspire Technology on Jan. 24. In the webinar, the presenters shared tips for implementing TI-Nspire technology in classrooms. Beginning with teacher usage as a presentation tool, they shared pathways to promote student discovery on the handheld TI-Nspire and implementation of the TI-Nspire Navigator system. The webinar is a part of a series to show educators in US and Canada how to effectively use TI technology to build student understanding.
Drs. Ben Cash, Reid Adams, Ginny Adams and Sally Entrekin, along with graduate students Jason Christian, Loren Stearman, Chris Naus, Jessie Green, and Nicki Jensen presented at the American Fisheries Society Arkansas state meeting in Conway. Over 30 students from UCA attended the meeting to listen to presentations and interact with fisheries biologists from around the state as well as many alumni of UCA that also attended the meeting.