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Researchers earn NSSR Director Awards for STEM scholars’ success

Story by
Trisha Radulovich
Carl Moore, associate professor in mechanical engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, was part of the research team that won the 2021 Directors Award for STEM student retention. (M Wallheiser/FAMU-FSU Engineering)

Six faculty from Florida A&M University were honored with Director Awards at the National Symposium on Student Retention Conference 2021. The group received the award for Best Paper and featured a path for STEM student success. The conference is a strategic initiative taken by the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange (CSRDE) at the University of Oklahoma. 

Maurice Edington is a professor serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida A&M University and the principal investigator for the study. The paper is entitled, “Preparing STEM Scholars for Success (PS3) Program at Florida A&M University.” It demonstrates the success the group has had with incoming first-year STEM students. 

“We can improve incoming STEM freshman ALEKs math placement scores through online study modules and an intensive mathematics boot camp,” explained Carl Moore, an associate professor in mechanical engineering at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and co-author of the study. “When we place a student in the correct math course, she is more likely to persist and graduate on time.”

nssr award winning group
(Left to right) The authors of the study: FAMU provost and VP of academic affairs Maurice Edington, associate professor mathematics and director of faculty development Desmond Stephens, director of Center for Academic Success in the College of Education Serena Roberts, associate professor mechanical engineering and director Title III Graduate Engineering Program Carl Moore Jr.,  coordinator of research programs Charlemagne Akpovo, and associate provost and professor physics Lewis Johnson.
(Lewis Johnson/FAMU)

The PS3 program is a significant component of the authors’ National Science Foundation-funded Science Community of Active Learners to Enhance Achievement and Retention (SCALAR II) project. The multimillion-dollar project has the goal of placing students in effective learning environments. The project provides students with academic support, helps them develop critical thinking skills, and ensures students develop foundational knowledge in their disciplines. 

“We continue to model how best to educate underrepresented students in STEM,” Moore said. “We are expanding the successes demonstrated in the paper and are creating new efforts to propel FAMU’s STEM students to new heights. It is inspiring!”
The success of the SCALAR II program helped the group secure a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a university-wide Center for STEM Education and Research.