Education Matters: UA Little Rock receives $2 million grant from National Science Foundation

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – UA Little Rock has been awarded its largest grant ever from the National Science Foundation to support undergraduate STEM education efforts. 

Nearly $2 million dollars was granted to the university to use over a 5-year period. 

The impact that it will have across campus is going to be phenomenal,” said assistant professor of chemistry, Mark Baillie.

The money will support staff and students in the Donaghey College of STEM, but in particular, students from underserved groups. 

For students participating in the learning assistance program on campus, which are like student mentors in the class, the grant will provide a nearly $1,000-dollar stipend PER semester.

David Montague,  UA Little Rock Associate vice chancellor for student success says, “the thing that is wonderful about this particular grant is it uses its opportunities to engender how to be better stem experts in our students.”

Olive Pate is a Learning Assistant and a first-generation student, which is one of the historically underserved groups UA Little Rock dedicates this grant toward.

“Working with other LA’s and building this community and seeing how other people are studying has just been very beneficial,” said Pate. 

Faculty will not only gain new knowledge of teaching methods to better grow these groups forward with the Mobile Institute on Scientific Teaching workshop, but they’ll get $500 for completion.

“It transformed the way that I taught,” said Baillie.

He adds that “through these training opportunities, it will really allow us to decrease what we call the equity gap between students of privilege and students who don’t have as much privilege.”

75 stem faculty members and over 600 students will get the stipends from these programs over the next 5 years. 

The interdisciplinary team led by Dr. Mark Baillie, assistant professor of chemistry, is a collaboration with faculty from the STEM Education Center.

-Dr. Michael Moore, director of undergraduate research and mentoring.

-Dr. Lundon Pinneo, assistant professor for the School of Education. 

-Dr. David Montague, associate vice chancellor for student success for the Office of the Provost 

-Ronia Kattoum, an advanced instructor of chemistry and Ph.D. student in applied sciences-chemistry