More Record STEM Success

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Lydia Babcock-Adams, who spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony for UGA’s Science Learning Center and is pursuing degrees in chemistry and marine sciences, was one of 17 UGA students and alumni who were offered the highly competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship this year.

The University community has a lot to celebrate during this year’s Honors Week, including a record number of recipients of highly competitive National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships.

The NSF Graduate Fellowship program is the nation’s oldest for graduate students in science, technology, engineering and math fields, and it was created in 1951 to advance our nation’s knowledge, security and economy. NSF Graduate Fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000, a $12,000 allowance for tuition and fees and opportunities for international research and professional development.

NSF Graduate Fellowships recognize the nation’s most promising STEM students, and this year 17 UGA students and alumni were offered the fellowship. This record number—which tops last year’s record of 16—is part of a broader trend of increased interest, access and success in STEM fields at Georgia’s flagship university.

The number of STEM degrees awarded by this institution has risen dramatically in recent years. Nearly 21 percent of UGA students who graduated last year earned degrees in STEM fields, an increase of five percent from just five years ago. Enrollment in our College of Engineering has exceeded expectations, with enrollment topping 1,600 this past fall.

To build on this momentum, UGA’s Office of STEM Education is sharing best instructional practices across campus and creating partnerships across the state under the leadership of its new director, Dr. Timothy Burg. Meanwhile, workers on South Campus are constructing the state-of-the-art Science Learning Center that will open in fall 2016 and house 33 instructional labs, two 280-seat lecture halls and two 72-seat classrooms designed to foster active learning.

Last week the University wrapped up a record-setting Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Symposium, during which more than 400 students presented original research projects in the sciences, engineering, arts and humanities. In addition, two of our Honors students—Catherine “Cali” Callaway and Morrison Nolan—were recently named recipients of Goldwater Scholarships, the nation’s premier academic award for undergraduates pursuing STEM careers.

I’d like to emphasize that successes such as these simply would not be possible without the extraordinary instruction and mentorship that our faculty members provide. The University of Georgia has a lot to be proud of, and I look forward to celebrating the many accomplishments of our outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni.