UMass STEM Professors recieve grants from National Science Foundation


By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer

UMass Dartmouth Professors Shakhnoza Kayumova and Walter Stroup received grants from the National Science Foundation for the purpose of investing in students being educated and pursuing paths in STEM field.

STEM, an acronym short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, focuses exclusively on those fields and applying them to the modern world. The NSF grants were to help instill and enable students interested in pursuing STEM to better enable to go forth with their careers. For students who might not have been interested, it serves to offer them the possibility of the field.

Dr. Kayumova received a grant totaling $778,700 from the Foundation, and Dr. Stroup received $457,755. They are both re-investing the funds back into education for the STEM community using different approaches.

Dr. Stroup focuses on grades K-12 with a specific, open-source software program that he intends to develop to be used in classrooms across the nation. With a focus on software interaction and personal development by teachers, it will expose students to technology and encourage them to interact with it in new ways.

The open-source development nature of the software allows teachers with coding expertise to adapt the program to fit the needs for their classrooms and make it more individually tailored for students.

Dr. Stroup will be working with teachers in different areas across the country, bring his expertise and grant from the University of Austin here to UMass Dartmouth to make the program work and fit for their needs.

He proposes that it will “challenge the students to think in more dynamic terms and look at the world in dynamic ways, [with events like] global warming.”

Dr. Kayumova instead comes from the background of engaging students who are English-learners and opening up opportunities for them to become more invested and included in the STEM field.

The grant was awarded to her through the CAREER award for Faculty Early Development, and is titled “Analyzing the Nexus between Advantaged Social Position and Science Identity Development among English Learners”, it proposes to gather data and worked on a proposed program to help students of many diverse backgrounds and from different areas learn to succeed in STEM.

Specifically focusing on communities here in Taunton, New Bedford, and Fall River, Dr. Kayumova hopes that empowering these students and the younger students in their early career development will not only lead to success for themselves, but also for economic success for their communities.

“We will be studying students over three years,” says Dr. Kayumova. They will also be developing new methods for students to learn and adapt to new methods within the 21 century, particularly the increasing importance placed on the STEM fields.

Some of the biggest challenges, as presented by Dr. Stroup, has been changed the minds of students to adapt to dynamic terms and learning to use new language to view the world.

The grant, the funding from the National Science Foundation, and the work of Dr. Kayumova and Stroup are all working to change that, to provide more  opportunities for STEM for all people.

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