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.