The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) is launching a new community engagement program to support science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in public middle schools and high schools in Arkansas.
UAMS’ Division for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has received a $800,000 grant to establish the Pathways Academy. The grant comes from the Arkansas Division of Workforce Services Temporary Assistance for Needed Families program and is renewable for up to five years, representing a potential $4 million investment.
This STEM education program will utilize online tools to aid students whose families qualify for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. These Pathway Scholars will receive assistance and preparation for careers in the STEM and health care fields.
Some of the resources the Pathways Academy will provide including mentoring, tutoring, opportunities to attend conference and seminars, internships, summer programming and technical training. The program will also work with the students’ parents to help them support their children’s academic careers.
“The Pathways Academy is meant to not only give students the opportunity to explore and pursue careers in science and health care fields, but to build bridges of community engagement and education in communities with underrepresented minority populations, opening doors for clinical and translation research as well,” Brian Gittens, Ed.D., MPA, UAMS vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, said in a statement.
According to Gittens, the program’s first priority is developing a staff to create curriculum, program development and administration. The team will then begin recruiting students, parents and teachers.
The long-term goals for the program is to grow to approximately 1,200 students in Arkansas, Gittens said.