UF/IFAS Receives Nearly $1 Million Grant to Engage More Low-Income Students in Geomatics
The grant, part of the NSF-Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, will fund a six-year project. During that time, participating students will receive scholarships and support services and will be part of a research study. That study will identify factors that can lead to academic success and retention for low-income students in geomatics.
“The proposal for this grant stemmed from the UF/IFAS geomatics faculty’s desire to increase the number of professional surveyors and mappers to support the state of Florida’s economic growth,” said Amr Abd-Elrahman, an associate professor of geomatics and principal investigator of the project.
The project will fund 38 scholarships for full-time and part-time students.
“Financially stressed students often face academic, structural, economic and social barriers affecting their pursuit of STEM education such as geomatics,” said Abd-Elrahman.
The project will also provide extra and co-curricular activities during enrollment.
“Support services are a core component of this project,” said Katherine Britt, a geomatics specialist at the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC). “Some of these services include pre-admission advising and recruitment activities, regular academic and professional mentoring.”
Additional support will provide professional certification assistance, as well as sponsorship for professional conference participation and professional development opportunities to help students transition to the workforce.
Through the project, faculty also want to improve their collaboration with community and state colleges and professionals in industry. They’ll recruit transfer students from community and state colleges, and help students successfully transition to UF/IFAS and complete their geomatics degree.
“There will also be a social science component to the project in the form of a six-year study,” said Alison Adams, an assistant professor at the UF/IFAS School of Forest, Fisheries and Geomatics Sciences at the main UF campus in Gainesville. “The study will examine the effects of extracurricular support and the structure of the geomatics degree program as a blended and geographically distributed program.”
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