(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University has been awarded $3.9 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to establish a Center of Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education (CESTEME) at the university, making it one of only three minority-serving institutions selected for this prestigious award.
Through a four-year grant, JSU will partner with the Jackson Public Schools District and Hinds Community College to strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs at the respective institutions. The schools will recruit, train and mentor K-12 and university students in STEM disciplines critical to the Department of Defense and national security.
“The program is designed to develop the technical workforce needed to meet the future demand in human resources and to sustain America’s leadership in the global economy,” said Paul B. Tchounwou, principal investigator and center director. “Its overarching goal is to address the nation’s and the Defense Department’s needs for a skilled and globally competitive STEM workforce.”
The center will provide outstanding opportunities to Department of Defense fellows in kindergarten through the 12th grade and college scholars to develop an understanding of the basic principles, concepts, theories and skills in STEM education. Students will fully participate in lectures and enrichment activities and engage in multi- and interdisciplinary research in relevant STEM areas.
As one of three minority-serving institutions to receive the grant, Jackson State aims to help change the culture of STEM education for minority students, from individual immersion in a particular discipline to a multifaceted experience involving multidisciplinary education and research teams that will prepare them for STEM careers.
“In collaboration with Jackson Public Schools and Hinds Community College, this award will strengthen our K-16 strategic direction in training the next cadre of STEM scientists for the 21st century,” said Felix A. Okojie, JSU’s vice president for research and federal relations.
The four-year grant also provides a strong platform for consolidating the ongoing partnerships between JSU, Jackson Public Schools and Hinds.
“It is an excellent opportunity to streamline our 2×2 programs with Hinds Community College and to sustain our collaborative relationship with Jackson Public Schools,” said Quinton L. Williams, JSU’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs. “JSU looks forward to assisting Jackson’s schools and Hinds Community College in their professional/faculty development programs, facilitating students’ transition to JSU, and helping Hinds graduates to enroll in our baccalaureate degree programs.”
The project’s co-principal investigators include Wilbur Walters, associate superintendent of Jackson Public Schools, and Theresa Hamilton, vice president of the Hinds Community College Raymond Campus.
“I also express my sincere gratitude to Abdul K. Mohamed, dean emeritus of JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology (CSET), and to all my colleagues in CSET and JSU for their valuable input during the proposal writing process,” Tchounwou said. “This is a major milestone in our collective efforts to move our STEM programs to the highest level of excellence.”
Tchounwou currently serves as associate dean and presidential distinguished professor in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. He is also the director of the RCMI-Center for Environmental Health funded by the National Institutes of Health. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Photo of Paul B. Tchounwou: http://www.jsums.edu/announcements/ptchounwou.jpg