This project is providing annual scholarship support for low-income and academically talented students in engineering, technology and computer science programs. In addition to the financial support, several other activities contribute to the project's intellectual merit: i) academic support in the form of supplemental math and science courses, ii) faculty and peer monitoring, iii) student/faculty research opportunities, and iv) attendance at technical and scientific workshops and independent study opportunities. Additionally, scholars are given solid career counseling that includes preparation for graduate schools; service learning opportunities; research and internship employment opportunities in national need areas; and effective employment strategies such as resume writing and interviewing skills. By offering a model for how other minority institutions of higher education can successfully attract and retain students who are pursuing engineering, technology, and computer science degrees, the project is demonstrating its potential for broader impact. The diversity of the institution's traditional applicant pool also guarantees that a diverse set of students is benefiting from the scholarship funding. Finally, the project's web site is providing information about the scholarship program and being used to distribute the educational materials developed in the project such as student research projects, student activities, participating faculties, and project assessment results.
The primary objectives of this National Science Foundation (NSF) STEM Scholarship program are: 1) to provide financial support for talented and low-income minority students in engineering, technology and computer science majors in order to pursue and obtain a university degree, 2) to identify the special needs of these low-income students and provide academic support to these students in the form of supplemental math and science courses, faculty and peer monitoring, student/faculty research opportunities, technical and scientific workshops, and independent study opportunities, 3) to provide the NSF STEM scholars with solid career counseling that includes preparation for graduate schools, service learning opportunities, research and internship employment opportunities in national need areas, and effective employment strategies such as resume writing and interviewing skills and 4) to address the local educational and industrial needs. Alabama A&M University (AAMU) has a large number of minority students who are from low-income families and need financial assistance in order for them to pursue college education. Some first generation college attendants do not have sufficient financial aid or are under heavy loans. With the help of the NSF grant, these talented students were reached and awarded with NSF STEM Scholarships. From 2008 to 2012, a total of 162 scholarships were awarded to thirty-nine (39) AAMU minority students in STEM fields. 62% of the scholarship recipients are males, and 38% are females. 26% of the scholarship recipients majored in Electrical Engineering (EE), 43% in Mechanical Engineering (ME), 13% in Civil Engineering (CE), 13% in Computer Science (CS), and 5% in Engineering Technology (ET). The NSF STEM scholarship steering committee was established at AAMU. It consists of the project director, the Dean of School of Engineering and Technology and one faculty mentor from each department: Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Engineering Technology. This committee organizes, reviews, and evaluates scholarship applications and conducts interviews for potential candidates. Qualified applicants are then awarded with NSF STEM scholarships. Scholarships are evaluated and awarded each semester. Instead of evaluating scholarship recipientsâ€™ academic progress annually, each scholarship recipientâ€™s academic performance was evaluated at the end of each semester. An academic alert, warning, and academic help program was established for each individual scholarship recipients. Any academic changes or GPA drops could be detected earlier. The program was found to be very effective for keeping the scholarship recipients focused on their academic work. Four NSF supplemental proposals were submitted and three were awarded to support an engineering faculty and six NSF STEM scholars to attend NSF FaST summer research at national laboratory. The faculty and student research teams worker together with the scientists from national lab to develop multilayered super lattice thermoelectric (TE) thin-film cooling devices for the application of high-efficiency solid-state micro cooling. In order to enhance the STEM studentâ€™s skill to meet leading industry standard, all NSF STEM scholarship recipients were provided with opportunities throughout the academic years to participate in professional training seminars, workshops and conferences. Six STEM recipients were supported and attended 2010 National Instrument (NI) Technical Symposium in Huntsville, AL. Two recipients were supported to attend Society of Women Engineers 2010 National conference at Orlando, Florida. Other activities include NASAâ€™s Michael P. Anderson Summer Outreach Program (MAP) at AAMU and AAMU STEM Day. Several NSF STEM scholarship recipients received summer research internships at NASA MSFC in Huntsville, Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, IN, Homeland security in New Jersey, Southern Nuclear Company, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne in Huntsville, Rolls-Royce, Oak Ridge National Lab, and Boeing Company. Two peer reviewed journal papers were published by scholarship recipients and faculties in 2012. Five conference papers/presentations were presented by NSF STEM scholarship recipients for their research through the project support. This NSF Scholarship Grant successfully provided need-based scholarships to talented minority students in order for them to complete BS degree in the STEM field at AAMU. A total of 18 scholarship recipients graduated from AAMU with a BS degree by the end of spring 2012. This NSF grant plays an important role in supporting minority students to complete university education.