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Concordia-Chicago receives National Science Foundation grant to increase diversity in STEM programs


The National Science Foundation has awarded $117,516 to Concordia University Chicago as part of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, which assists universities and colleges in increasing the numbers of students in high-quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to diversify the STEM workforce.

With the grant, Concordia University Chicago will engage in an 18-month planning process to examine research and best practices to coordinate effective and efficient tactics to reduce barriers for minorities in STEM-related fields. Concordia-Chicago has established an alliance that includes Dominican University, Elmhurst College, Hooke College, Oak Park and River Forest High School, and Proviso Math and Science Academy.

“This grant is very exciting for Concordia University Chicago and our partnering schools,” said Dr. Christopher Reigstad, associate professor of biology at Concordia-Chicago and principal investigator for the grant project. “It has the potential to help both current and future college students from underrepresented groups to succeed academically and find careers in STEM. This is important for a more diverse STEM workforce and a more balanced society. We hope to ultimately build partnerships with additional schools and businesses as this project progresses to further support the central mission of LSAMP.” The expected outcome of the planning process will be strong, established, coordinated partnerships from high school to university to employment in STEM.

Co-principal investigators for the project are Dr. Victor Govindaswamy, associate professor of computer science at Concordia-Chicago, Dr. Eve Mellgren of Elmhurst College, Dr. Christopher Anderson of Dominican University, and Charles Zona of Hooke College. The K-12 personnel include Matt Kirkpatrick, division head of Science and Technology at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and Amy Paulus of Proviso Math and Science Academy. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. The NSF is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by American colleges and universities.