USM, PGCPS Partnership Receives $12.4 Million NSF Grant to Boost STEM-Career Pipeline for Minority Students
ADELPHI, Md. (October 3, 2008) - The National Science
Foundation has awarded the University System of Maryland (USM) in
partnership with Prince George's County Public Schools and Prince George's
Community College a five-year, $12.4 million grant to enhance STEM (science,
technology, engineering, and math) teaching and learning experiences in Prince
George's County schools. Called MSP-Squared--Minority Student Pipeline Math Science
Partnership--the project will address one of the most pressing state and
national issues in education: the underrepresentation of minorities in STEM
fields of study and professions.
Four USM institutions--the USM
Office of Academic Affairs, Bowie State University (BSU), University of
Maryland, College Park (UMCP), and University of Maryland Biotechnology
Institute (UMBI)--in collaboration with Prince Georges Community College (PGCC)
will work with core partner Prince George's County Public Schools to coordinate
the project's multi-level strategy to enhance teacher development and student
experiences in the sciences.
"Providing access to STEM
education for students at every age and in every region of our state is
critical to equipping them with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st
Century," said Governor Martin O'Malley on the news of the grant. "This grant
will not only support individual achievement in STEM disciplines, but will help
expand the ranks of our skilled workforce-one of Maryland's key assets in the
increasingly competitive global economy."
MSP-Squared will work to
create a pipeline for bringing more minority students into STEM fields of study
via a four-fold approach that includes:
- Professional development programs created by UMCP
and PGCC for teachers in grades 4-8 designed around principles of teaching
and learning through inquiry science;
- Summer research experiences for PGCPS high school
science teachers with BSU, UMBI, and UMCP faculty;
- Mentored teaching experiences for 100
undergraduate underrepresented minority students coordinated by UMCP and
50 undergraduate research experiences through BSU;
- Early college/dual enrollment science courses
through BSU and PGCC for at least 250 PGCPS high school students over five
"Minorities are underrepresented
in STEM disciplines at every level from secondary science and mathematics
courses through graduate school," said USM Chancellor William E. Kirwan, who
serves as a member of Governor Martin O'Malley's P-20 Leadership Council. "Our
state is a leader in the global knowledge economy, but we will not maintain
this leadership if we do not develop strategies for attracting more of our
young people into STEM careers in teaching and research."
"Prince George's County Public Schools and our partners at the University System of Maryland
and Prince George's Community College are proud to have been recognized
in such a meaningful way by the National Science Foundation," said Dr. John E.
Deasy, Superintendent of Prince George's County Public Schools. "In making this
award, the NSF has validated our work to provide academic and economic access
to the children of Prince
many of whom are traditionally underrepresented in college, particularly in the
STEM areas. This award will allow us initiate new strategies to increase the
capacity of our science teachers to deliver quality and engaging instruction,
while providing some of our high school students' direct access to college
is one of the largest majority-minority school systems in the nation, with
132,000 students enrolled in grades K-12 (76% African American, 15% Hispanic).
Bowie State University (BSU)
will act as the lead institution for MSP-Squared project.
"We at Bowie State University are very pleased to be part of this important
initiative," said BSU President Mickey L. Burnim. "The future of our
nation will depend upon how well we develop the intellectual and productive
capacity of all our citizens and this collaborative effort will do much to
inform and prepare young people in the STEM disciplines. We are especially
excited about partnering with our sister USM institutions, the Prince George's Public Schools, and the Prince Georges Community
"Bowie State University is proud to be the lead
institution for the MSP-Squared grant," said BSU Professor
Anisha Campbell, principal investigator for the project. "Past
collaborations have established productive relationships with our
partners. We are looking forward to establishing best practices to promote
STEM in underrepresented minority groups."
MSP-Squared will be aided by
lessons learned through USM's Vertically
Integrated Partnerships (VIP) project developed jointly with Montgomery County Public
Montgomery College. The program brought together science teachers in Montgomery County high schools with college and university counterparts
in USM institution-based laboratories and classrooms to engage in a variety of
science experiences and experiments tied directly to the Montgomery County science curriculum standards.
"Our previous work has
focused, in part, on developing learning communities that bring primary and
secondary school teachers in contact with university faculty and researchers,"
Nancy Shapiro, USM's associate vice chancellor for academic affairs who oversee
the system's K-16 initiatives. "These communities have been demonstrated to enhance
the professional development of our teachers and the science curriculum for the students."
The MSP-Squared grant is one
of four NSF grants recently awarded to USM institutions. In addition to the $12.4
million to MSP-Squared partnership, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County received $2.2 million for The INSPIRES Curriculum for
Engineering and Technology Education project and $500,000 for Maryland's Alliance
for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) Professorial Training for
Mathematicians, Information Technologists, Scientists, and Engineers (PROMISE).
University of Maryland, College
Park also received$1.3
million for its Grid, Public, and GPU Computing for the Tree of Life project.
The efforts of Senators Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin were instrumental
in securing these grants for Maryland.
The National Science Foundation is an independent
federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science;
to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national
defense; and for other purposes." With an annual budget of about $6.06 billion
(fiscal year 2008), NSF funds discovery, learning, research infrastructure, and
stewardship to boost U.S. leadership in all aspects of science, mathematics,
and engineering research and education.
Contact: John Buettner