A $4 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), matched by the Chancellor’s Office of the California State University, ensures that the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) will continue on the CSU’s 23 campuses for at least another five years.
LSAMP dates to 1993, when Congress commissioned the NSF to establish an education program (then called the Alliance for Minority Participation) to increase the number of African American, American Indian, Hispanic and Pacific Islander students who graduate with bachelor’s and graduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
Congress later honored retiring U.S. Rep. Louis Stokes by adding his name to “Alliance for Minority Participation.”
In addition to having its own LSAMP program since 1993, Sacramento State has been the home of the CSU’s statewide alliance for the last 10 years.
“The program isn’t only for minority students,” says Lisa Hammersley, a professor of geology and CSU-LSAMP project director. “We serve anyone faced with socioeconomic educational barriers, such as first-generation students and students who have financial obstacles.”
The NSF recently tapped Sac State’s Academic Technology and Creative Services Unit to produce two LSAMP informational videos.
The half-hour “Aiming High and Making a Difference” (http://bit.ly/1gjbd5U) had film crews interviewing students and faculty about the program at such far-flung campuses as Virginia State, the University of Texas at El Paso, UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota. There are some 600 alliances nationwide.
ATCS also produced the five-minute video “Becoming a Scientist or Engineer: Your Pathway to the Future with LSAMP” (http://bit.ly/1kSXLWP) for potential students.
“It’s a great program,” Hammersley says. “Each CSU campus has a slightly different flavor, so there are things they do to serve their home population of students, but there are activities common to us all: tutoring, supplemental instruction, stipends for international research and graduate school preparation.
“Hispanic CSU-LSAMP participants are graduating in STEM at a higher rate than non-minority STEM students,” she says. “Basically, we have closed the achievement gap for our Hispanic students. For African American CSU-LSAMP participants, we’ve closed the achievement gap by 50 percent.”