• Brandon Colvin

NASA awards $1.2M grant to Alabama State University to support minority students in STEM


In support of minority engineering programs and experimental research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration has awarded Alabama State University a grant totaling nearly $1.2 million dollars. ASU is one of only six minority-serving institutions to receive funding under the space agency's Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP).


The $1,198,937.75 grant covers a three-year budget period and is part of a $7 million pool of funding awarded to the six institutions. Dr. Michelle Foster, chair of ASU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, submitted the successful application, entitled, "Developing NASA Pathways to Engineering and Experiential Research for Student Success."


"I am humbled and excited at our ASU receiving this grant that will help our students to expand their sights and reach with a goal of them becoming engineers," said Foster.


"For minority students, the numbers speak for themselves. Data tells us that only two-percent, nationwide, of minority students have degrees in or are employed in engineering and physics. Our new NASA grant allows our ASU students to study in those areas and receive degrees in them, which is important to increase diversity," Foster explained.


"Engaging STEM subject-matter experts, professional organizations, social science researchers, and industry partners to create a supportive community of engineering learners can help NASA achieve its MUREP goal."

In celebrating the grant award, Dr. Foster thanked ASU President, Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr., and ASU's Provost, Dr. Carl Pettis.


"Both President Ross and Provost Pettis have offered me incredible advice, assessment and mentorship...this grant is a direct result of their involvement in strengthening and promoting ASU's STEM subjects," Foster exclaimed.


In his remarks, President Ross expressed his appreciation for Dr. Foster while also praising the assistance of Congresswoman Terri Sewell.


"I am extremely grateful that Alabama State University was selected by NASA to be one of the recipients of this grant award," said Ross, Jr. "I would also like to thank Congresswoman Terri Sewell and her staff for their support in helping Alabama State University secure the funding that will help advance ASU's initiatives to increase student and minority participation in STEM-related fields."


Pettis further praised the award, calling the grant, "another opportunity to advance student success."


“The University continues its endeavor to produce top-notch students in STEM fields. This NASA grant allows us to provide additional research opportunities for students in collaboration with partner institutions...Having a partner like NASA really expands our reach as well," Pettis added.


NASA's MUREP grant awards provide up to $1.2 million for each institution to be implemented over a three-year period in accordance with the institution's proposal timeline. In addition to ASU, the University of Massachusetts, (Boston, Massachusetts), Florida A&M University, (Tallahassee, Florida), J.F. Drake State Technical College, (Huntsville, Alabama), Navajo Technical College, (Crownpoint, New Mexico), and Texas A&M, (Kingsville, Texas) all received MUREP funding.


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