Education & Outreach Group
- Dr. Katie Echols - Education and Outreach Coordinator (MSU)
The education and outreach initiative addresses the problem of the loss of Mississippi's STEM talent by recruiting/retaining promising students in computational majors at Mississippi's research institutions. The approach is to expand existing and develop new program components which include partnerships between Mississippi's institutions of higher learning (2- and 4-yr research and non-research institutions) and provide secure pathways for students in computational science majors with intervention at various levels from high school to a baccalaureate degree and onto graduate school. Research is the key component used to address these challenges.
Education is a primary concern and focus of effort to the entire MS EPSCoR community. Graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in programs at member institutions use computational (biology, chemistry, engineering) research tools. Much of this research is possible through the collaborative efforts of faculty from different institutions. This creates an opportunity for all students, including under-represented minority students from all institutions to be involved in a variety of projects and to be trained by a diverse faculty. This type of cross-institutional collaboration with faculty and students will continue and grow to include all research thrusts, related areas, and other institutions of higher learning and other regional HBCU's.
Although all member institutions enroll a significant number of under-represented minority students, JSU, as the 4-yr research HBCU, has the most experience and success recruiting and retaining minority students in the sciences. Collaborative efforts and lessons learned will be extremely valuable to the pursuit and success of any education/outreach endeavor.
Education & Outreach Initiatives
CSI:Mississippi is an annual workshop designed for middle and high school science teachers and focuses on strategies for teaching inquiry to students in Mississippi. The workshop is designed to focus on the Mississippi Science Curriculum and provides teachers with engaging ways to instruct students in basic scientific investigation. The workshop uses the concept of forensic science to encourage inquiry and scientific investigations and teachers are also able to tour research facilities at one of Mississippi’s research institutions as well as talk with researchers from many different disciplines.
Workshops are held for 2 weeks over the summer. Each year, the workshop is held at a different Mississippi research university.
Mississippi BEST Robotics
Mississippi BEST is designed to inspire and interest students in engineering, science, and technology through participation in an exciting sports-like technology contest. The BEST competition motivates students by challenging them to build a remote-controlled robot that accomplishes a defined task within a competitive setting. A mentor and a school coach guide student teams through the engineering process. Mississippi EPSCoR is an active supporter of the program.
Research Experiences for Undergraduate Students
Mississippi EPSCoR offers paid opportunities for undergraduate students to work during the summer in the lab of a Mississippi EPSCoR researchers at any of the partner institutions. The goals of the program are to provide students with research experience and broaden the participation in STEM fields.
Women in STEM Seminar Series
The Women in STEM Seminar Series is designed to showcase women who have pursued careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Each seminar is held at a primarily undergraduate institution across the state of Mississippi. Speakers discuss their academic backgrounds, the path they took to their career, the opportunities out there for women, and how they keep work-life balance. Opportunities for participation in research as well as graduate school opportunities are also explored.
Science Cafés increase knowledge of material science research and provide opportunities for public engagement and discussion of important research topics. Science cafés are lively events that take place in informal settings like a coffee house. They are open to everyone and include a conversation with a researcher on a particular topic.