MSU uses NSF grant to increase awareness of STEM careers among Lansing high school students
As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Michigan State University is working directly with students in several Lansing School District high schools to raise awareness of STEM disciplines and university opportunities, including scholarships.
LANSING, Mich. – As part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Michigan State University is working directly with students in several Lansing School District high schools to raise awareness of STEM disciplines and university opportunities.
MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) faculty and students are participating in after-school programs at three local high schools.
Many jobs in the STEM fields of food, energy and the environment (FEE) go unfilled in Michigan and the United States. These applied science disciplines are vital to global security and economy, but graduate too few students to fill current and projected job openings.
The CANR STEM-FEE Scholars Program offering scholarships and CANR STEM-FEE Academy program connecting with high school students are designed to address these important national needs and encourage more students to pursue degrees and careers in these areas.
Scholarships of up to $25,000 are available for students who demonstrate financial need and are incoming freshmen, currently undecided or changing majors at MSU, or transferring to MSU from a community college or two-year institution who are interested in pursuing a major in:
- Animal Science
- Crop and Soil Sciences
- Fisheries and Wildlife
- Food Science
“Too few students are entering these disciplines – a problem that can be addressed by an effective, multifaceted, experiential and interactive recruitment program that engages students,” said Eunice Foster. Foster is a professor in the MSU Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and is leading the CANR STEM-FEE Scholars and Academy programs, which will also study the reasons for the student shortage and design student recruitment programs like the after school program.
The after-school portion of the program enables high school students to experience science and learn more about science, food, energy and environmental careers firsthand during the lab work, experiments and research activities. The STEM-FEE Academy; an after-school program that operates at Eastern High School, Everett High School and Sexton High School. The academy started last fall and runs through May 2019. Eastern High School was added to the program in January 2019.
Sexton biology teacher and science team advisor Maureen McDiarmid, sees value in connecting high school with exposure to MSU and possible STEM careers.
“One way we are going to connect the learning in Biology to the after school CANR-FEE program is by growing tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers and spices in class to make salsa. Students will also be growing various lettuces and working with MSU to learn about growing crops such as corn, wheat and soy,” said McDiarmid, when asked about what future activities they will be doing in the academy.
The goal of the academy after-school program is to provide an opportunity for high school students to explore a future in STEM and agriculture-related fields. It’s also a way to connect students with Michigan State University and recruit local students to fields in animal science, crop and soil sciences, entomology, fisheries and wildlife, food science, forestry and horticulture.
“Food, energy and the environment affect everyone,” said Kelly Millenbah, CANR senior associate dean and director for academic and student affairs. “We want to support students from all backgrounds as they explore STEM fields and related opportunities within our college.”