COSAM News Articles 2020 April NSF Funding Assists Auburn in Preparing Students to Collaboratively Solve STEM Problems

NSF Funding Assists Auburn in Preparing Students to Collaboratively Solve STEM Problems

Published: 04/06/2020

By: Maria Gebhardt

Using multiple disciplines to approach and solve problems in an ever-changing workforce is essential for students pursuing careers in STEM fields. Auburn University is preparing students with the necessary skills to excel through the Collaborative Approaches among Scientists and Engineers (CASE) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) which was recently funded by the National Science Foundation.

During a 10-week summer program, students will utilize cross-disciplinary approaches to solve research problems spanning the fields of chemistry, engineering, physics, geoscience, and biology. Additionally, participants will take part in weekly professional development workshops networking opportunities, and social activities. This interactive program is designed to expose students to graduate school and explore the wide variety of professional careers available to them through attainment of an advanced degree that they may not have considered before this program.

One of the unique aspects of the CASE REU is the focus on fostering effective mentor-mentee relationships. This is a key component in helping students develop their science identity, particularly for those students from groups traditional underrepresented in these fields. Through mentoring and increased awareness of STEM role models, these students are enhancing their sense of belonging and being encouraged to pursue career paths without limitations.

“Being exposed to research early during college by mentors who had a vested interest in my success changed my career trajectory. Many of those same people are still my mentors today. We hope that we can provide the same experience for the students who participate in this program,” explained Kimberly Mulligan-Guy, assistant dean, Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity, College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM).

The CASE REU will serve as a model for students to learn through engaging, multidisciplinary partnerships. It is sponsored by COSAM’s Office of Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity and the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Academic Excellence Program.

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