The LeMoyne-Owen College has won a five-year $1.7 million National Science Foundation grant for its new Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) implementation project. The funded project is the College’s “Moving Forward – Steps to Graduate School” program.

Congressman Steve Cohen visited the LOC campus on Friday to help the college announce this major achievement.

“I’m glad that we have made this important investment in our students at LeMoyne-Owen College,” said Cohen. “This effort to build on the school’s already-proven projects will go a long way towards preparing undergraduates for successful careers in good-paying fields.”

Dr. Cheryl Golden, LOC vice-president and chief academic officer and principal investigator for the project, said the goal is to prepare African-American students for graduate schools in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to pursue research careers.

“We have devised activities that are designed to increase the retention of students in STEM fields, increase the number of STEM majors who graduate in four years or less, and increase the percentage of graduating seniors who pursue graduate school,” she said.

Scholars in the program will matriculate through a rigorous curriculum, receive mentoring in steps to graduate school admission, gain substantial research experience and present their research at regional and national scientific conferences.

The campus research projects include molecular biological studies aimed at 1) developing prevention strategies and/or novel therapeutic protocols for the treatment of diarrhea or chronic intestinal inflammation and 2) biochemical research synthesizing, testing and introducing new aluminum chelating ligands that may aid in the diagnosis of aluminum accumulation and treatment of aluminum toxicity.

LeMoyne-Owen College President Johnnie B. Watson says grant funding is crucial if the college is to continue to improve its curriculum to meet the emerging needs of the workplace.

“We are a small college with a mighty legacy of preparing leaders in medicine, education, political science and theology,” said Watson. “Grants help us to continue our legacy by providing crucial funding that enables us to launch innovative programs that uniquely prepare our students for success.”

Accomplished students interested in majoring in STEM fields at LeMoyne-Owen College will be invited to participate in a pre-college summer academy program next summer where they will participate in academic enhancement training and will be considered for participation in the Moving Forward – Steps to Graduate School program. Dr. Delphia Harris, professor of chemistry and chair for the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, will serve as co-principal investigator and will be responsible for project’s implementation.

Interested students should call the Division of Natural and Mathematical Sciences at 901-435-1395 to learn more.

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