New cohort of NSF S-STEM scholars don the white lab coats of science

Second cohort of NSF S-STEM Scholars.

New cohort of NSF S-STEM scholars don the white lab coats of science

Five chemistry and physics majors in Georgia College & State University’s second cohort of NSF S-STEM Scholars were indoctrinated into the program last week during a “white coat” ceremony on Front Campus.

The National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program at Georgia College financially supports highly-motivated, academically-strong, low-income students majoring in chemistry or physics. Students are given faculty mentoring and internship placement, as well as academic and career counseling.

Dr. Spirou Costas, provost of Academic Affairs; Dr. Jordan Cofer, provost of Transformative Learning Experiences; Dr. Eric Tenbus, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and Dr. Sayo Fakayode, chair of the department of chemistry, physics and astronomy were present to congratulate students and help them don white lab coats.

This year’s cohort includes two freshmen chemistry majors—Kathryn Martin of Sparta, Georgia, and Angel Nicholson of Monticello, Georgia. Freshmen Damian Harris of Woodstock, Georgia, and Joel Saucedo of Johns Creek, Georgia, and sophomore Benjamin Gaisford of Buford, Georgia, are majoring in physics.

Students who demonstrate a financial need can receive up to $8,000 a year for four years. The program helps increase graduation rates for chemistry and physics majors, while connecting what students learn in class to the workforce. It also involves scholars in undergraduate research early in their college years.

“It is exciting to see our scholars engage in undergraduate research during the first semester of their freshmen year, which is not the norm for most STEM disciplines,” said Dr. Hasitha Mahabaduge, associate professor of physics and principal investigator of the NSF S-STEM grant at Georgia College.

“Success stories from our S-STEM recipients will motivate our students to get involved with undergraduate research as early as they can,” Mahabaduge said. “I hope it will also provide an example for faculty members to get students involved in their respective research projects as freshmen or sophomores.”

In addition to providing academic and financial support for students, the NSF-funded grant also provides means for educational research. Recently, Mahabaduge and Dr. Rui Kang, professor of teacher education, presented their findings on “Transition to College and Sense of Belonging: It’s Implications for Retention of STEM Majors” at the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ STEM Conference in Arlington, Virginia.

Updated: 2022-11-21
Cindy O'Donnell
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