UOG gets grant to build up STEM capacity

Partners of the NSF INCLUDES grant program at a press conference held Sept. 19 at the University of Guam. (From left) Janet Dirige, grants officer, UOG; Claudia Taitano, secretary, Guam Science & Discovery Society; Cathleen Moore-Linn, executive director, Research Corporation of the University of Guam; Austin Shelton, principal investigator and assistant professor, UOG; Thomas W. Krise, president and professor of English, UOG; Mary Okada, president, Guam Community College; Else Demeulenaere, co-principal investigator and associate director for natural resources, UOG Center for Island Sustainability; Cheryl Sangueza, co-principal investigator and associate professor, UOG; Bastian Bentlage, co-principal investigator and assistant professor, UOG; and Alicia Aguon, dean, UOG School of Education. Photo courtesy of University of Guam.

Islands have been identified as places where STEM engagement is considerably low. To combat this, the National Science Foundation has provided funding to the University of Guam for a STEM capacity building program.

In order to encourage students to become involved in and seek careers in STEM fields, the University of Guam has just been awarded a $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The grant would provide opportunities in marine and environmental science for more than 95 high school students, undergraduates, graduate students, and early-career professionals.

Such opportunities include scientific research experiences, faculty and near-peer mentorship, and presenting at national conferences.

According to Dr. Cheryl Sangueza, the grant’s co-principal investigator, the near-peer mentorship, which would involve older students lending first-hand advice to their younger peers, would encourage students to consider a future in a STEM field career.

“What I absolutely love about being in the near-peer mentorship is that we have an opportunity to have these discussions with how their experiences are shaping themselves as scientists. How it’s shaping their choices for higher education and career. In addition to it being an awesome experience on the field and with awesome researchers, we talk about its impact on their development as important people in the STEM field,” Sangueza said.

According to a release, individuals interested in marine and environmental science from UOG, the Guam Community College, and the CNMI will be eligible for the program.