Thursday, January 14, 2010

TSU Partners With Adventure Science Center For Alignment Nashville Program For Girls

Three Tennessee State University programs-the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, the Institute for Understanding Biological Systems (lUBS) and the College of Engineering-have entered a $1.35 million grant partnership with the Adventure Science Center and Alignment Nashville to provide tutors and summer camps for Metro Nashville Public Schools girls, grades 7-9.

The grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, provides support to the Art to STEM program. This program was created to promote girls' interests, skills and abilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

TSU will receive $5,200 for mentor recruitment, as well as $50,000 for hosting the summer camps in 2010 and 2011.

TSU faculty members, Dr. Todd Gary and Dr. Virginia Tickles, and the Center for Service Learning will provide student mentors to work with girls twice a week in an after school program to expose them to the STEM disciplines.

The week-long summer camps will allow Art to STEM participants to be on a college campus attended by many of their mentors. They will utilize the science, math, and aerospace labs, as well as the art gallery on campus and stay in the residence centers to experience college life.

Gary, who serves as co-director of the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) program at TSU, said, "Having TSU students as role models and mentors will be a great asset to the program and will encourage more young women to pursue science careers."

Dr. Sue Fuller, director of the Center for Service-Learning and faculty member in the College of Education, said she views the partnership as a win-win opportunity for both students and their TSU mentors. She also said the program is a fine example of TSU's leadership role in P-16 activities in our area schools.

"The middle and high school students will be engaged in challenging and interesting learning activities while on our campus," she added.

To help recruit mentors, TSU will involve both student organizations-Association of Pre-professional Life Scientists (APLS) and Society of Women Engineers (SWE).

"Our students relish the chance to give back in meaningful ways," said Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, TSU's Massie Chair of Excellence. "They are exceptional, not only for their intellectual abilities but also for their character and maturity."

TSU has a strong and rich science tradition, including being recognized as the first University to directly detect a planet outside the solar system in 1999. Also, for many years, the University has offered summer camps on the campus to school-aged students in math and science. TSU has more than 400 female students majoring in a STEM related discipline.

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