Ohio LSAMP Alliance Conference
develops community of scholars
According to recent data from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Census Bureau, underrepresented minorities earned 18.6 percent of total undergraduate degrees from four-year colleges, but only 16.4 percent of the degrees conferred in science fields and less than 13 percent of degrees in physical sciences and engineering.
To assist in approving those figures, the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program was created to assist universities and colleges in diversifying the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce through their efforts at significantly increasing the numbers of students successfully completing degree programs in STEM disciplines. The Ohio Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), whose goal is to double the number of bachelor’s degrees completed in STEM fields at its 11 partner institutions, created the Ohio LSAMP Alliance Conference to solidify and support LSAMP Scholars, all who are majoring in STEM fields.
The three-day event on July 29 - 31, 2015 brought together over 100 faculty, staff, and students from the partner institutions who will join forces with industry and community partners to facilitate the development of the LSAMP Scholars and offer transformative experiences to assure that LSAMP Scholars achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals.
The conference provided professional development opportunities for both students and faculty. Faculty learned how to implement LSAMP best practices at their institutions while students learned more about careers in STEM and how to advance on their educational journey. Students also participated in industry excursions to Battelle Memorial Institute, Honda of America Mfg., Inc., and the Kroger Company, offering the chance to interact with professionals currently using their STEM degrees, linking the classroom to careers.
“Our conference will help develop an Ohio LSAMP Alliance community of scholars, providing them with opportunities to present their undergraduate research, network, and participate in industry exclusions,” said Ohio LSAMP Alliance Director Dr. Barbara Fink. “The conference will also allow faculty and staff to discuss best practices and next steps, using their wisdom and experience. Through these discussions, we can bring about the institutional changes needed to accomplish our goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minority students who receive STEM degrees.”
Highlights of the conference included a keynote address by Allison K. Kenny, Engineering Coordinator in the Facilities Department at Honda of America Mfg., Inc. Ms. Kenny spoke to students about the importance of community service, telling them that their community needs they intellect, their vision, and their sweat equity. There was also be a graduate student STEM panel, where graduate students will share their experiences with undergraduate students, research poster presentations, and breakout sessions for students and faculty. Students could learn about research methods, how to apply to graduate school, and tips on writing résumés and cover letters as well as interviewing strategies. Faculty could attend workshops on addressing diversity, student success or implicit bias.
“This conference, for many students, is the first time STEM majors from each of the partners will come together to connect, exchange ideas, and build a stronger sense of what it means to be part of the alliance at their institution, in the state of Ohio, and to be a part of a national program,” said Tyler Cole, Ohio LSAMP Alliance Program Manager.
The event was made possible by support from Honda of America Mfg., Inc., Battelle, Kroger, and Procter & Gamble, who provided funding for student sessions and excursions as well as promotional materials. COSI also provided promotional materials for the conference.Photo by Ira Graham Photography and Films.