Alabama LSAMP Program receives $5 million in grant money


Group photo of current UAH ALSAMP students. The ALSAMP program supports historically underrepresented students in STEM fields.

Rosemary Robinson | UAH

The Alabama Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (ALSAMP) was recently awarded a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) is a long-time participant in the national program, aimed at increasing the number of students from underrepresented groups in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The University of Alabama (UA) is the lead institution for the five-year grant, which includes nine universities, four community colleges, and six industry partners. "The additional funding support from NSF means ALSAMP on the UAH campus will continue for another five years. The grant, which provides about $1 million annually for five years, comes to UA, but will be distributed among ALSAMP members who will then use the funding for student support," said Dr. Emanuel Waddell, Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Chemistry in UAH's College of Science. Waddell also serves as the site coordinator for UAH ALSAMP.

Dr. Waddell said that, in the new grant cycle, ALSAMP will provide outreach activities that promote STEM fields to middle school students, funding to help underrepresented high school and college students participate in research activities during the summer, and offer a bridge program for students transferring from community colleges to four-year institutions.

"In the first group, UAH has designated 15 ALSAMP scholars who are incoming freshman students, sophomores, and transfer students," Dr. Waddell said. "In addition to designating LSAMP Scholars, UAH will provide research opportunities to high school students identified with the assistance of the Alabama School of Science and Mathematics and the Alabama School of Fine Arts. These students will be selected in spring 2017 and conduct research for approximately six weeks. STEM degrees are awarded through the UAH Colleges of Science and Engineering."

The high school students will be invited to participate in the ALSAMP Spring Research Conference and will also have the opportunity to give a poster presentation at the conference.

Students in a lab

Inclusiveness and diversity is a core value of UAH.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Dr. Waddell said UAH will also provide several hands-on activities to middle school students to provide them with exposure to STEM subjects. "The primary purpose of the grant is to increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM pursuing doctorate degrees. It is expected that these doctoral recipients will become future faculty," said Dr. Waddell.

ALSAMP began as one of several similar alliances across the nation 25 years ago. UAH has been a participant in ALSAMP since its inception and was previously led by the late Dr. Adriel D. Johnson Sr. The program awards performance-based stipends to incoming college students to help cover some tuition as well as offering a summer program meant to be a bridge between high school and college and a spring research conference.

Along with UAH, the other four-year institutions in ALSAMP are UAH, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, the University of South Alabama, Oakwood University, Miles College, Talladega College, Stillman College, and Alabama A&M University. Also part of ALSAMP are Faulkner State, Calhoun, Shelton State, and Jefferson Davis community colleges. The Alabama School of Math and Science along with the Alabama School of Fine Arts are members. Industry partners include Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Dynetics, Alabama Power Co., Airbus, Evonik, and SSAB.