Alabama Extension at Alabama A&M University
*This is part 7 of 9 from The Urban Difference: Report 2019
STEM mentorship programs help to advance research and reduce staff shortages in STEM careers.
STEM Students in Action
It’s no secret that minority students are underrepresented in STEM fields. Mentoring opportunities like the Agricultural Science Extension Mentorship Program (ASEMP), give minority students an edge in both their academic and professional pursuits.
From June 3-July 15, 2019, Alabama Extension at AAMU in partnership with Alabama A&M University and Tennessee State University, hosted its second, summer mentorship program. Eight undergraduate STEM majors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 were selected after a nationwide search and paired with mentors from diverse backgrounds. The ASEMP students engaged in short- and long-term field, classroom, and laboratory exercises, site visits, workshops, and service-learning projects. These projects focused on the importance of giving back to the community and various STEM-related subjects. For example, they utilized ELISA test kits to detect levels of carbamazepine (anticonvulsant medication) and sulfamethoxazole (antibiotic) in the East Fork Stones and Cumberland rivers of Southern Tennessee. In addition, the students were required to develop Extension publications and to conduct a final presentation about their mentorship experiences.
ASEMP is a program activity of Alabama Extension’s SerPIE: Synergistic Efforts to Reduce Pharmaceutical Impacts on the Environment program. Evaluation of the mentees revealed significant knowledge gains concerning pharmaceutical and personal care product issues as well as increased interest in Extension and science careers. Qualitative data further revealed satisfaction with activities and the learning experiences. Today, most of the students like Zac Moss, who was a double major at Auburn University, have gone on to pursue STEM-related research, education, and career opportunities in cancer research, communications, public health, cell and molecular biology, addiction neuroscience, food safety, and kinesiology.
Part 1 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, From the Administrators
Part 2 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Alabama 4-H and Youth Development
Part 3 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Animal Science and Forages
Part 4 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Community Resource Development
Part 5 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Consumer Sciences and Personal Financial Management
Part 6 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Family and Child Development
Part 7 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Forestry, Wildlife, and Natural Resources
Part 8 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Home Grounds, Gardens and Home Pests
Part 9 – The Urban Difference: Report 2019, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health