Fayetteville State University’s (FSU) Center for Defense and Homeland Security (CDHS) has been awarded $718,338 from the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) HBCU Program and ONR’s STEM Diversity Program. The grant will be used to develop a pipeline of the next generation of professionals who will be equipped to address issues of compelling interest to the Navy, as well as the security of the United States. Dr. Daniel Okunbor, Director of Research in the FSU College of Arts and Sciences and a Professor of Computer Science, and Dr. Curtis Charles, Executive Director of the CDHS and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Transformation, were the co-principal investigators. Grant partners include Cumberland County Schools, Lockheed Martin, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory.
According to Dr. Curtis Charles, Executive Director of the CDHS and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Transformation at FSU, this innovative and enterprising collaboration between ONR’s STEM Diversity Program and the HBCU program has two major thrusts.
This Navy Next Generation Outreach and Recruitment Initiative (AGORA) project is aimed at strengthening the pipeline by inspiring, engaging, and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers in hands-on, research-based learning experiences that employ critical thinking teaching methods to include inquiry-based instruction, problem-based strategies, project-based learning, active engagement, collaborative learning, multi-sensory instruction, and Socratic Method.
The AGORA project would engage 45 FSU undergraduate students; 150 (50 annually) underrepresented high school students; six (6) Master high school STEM teachers; two (2) FSU scientific method research professors; and 75 parents, for the three-year project. A new cohort of 50, ninth grade students will be recruited annually for the Cyber on Saturday Academy, and a subset of 25 high-ability AGORA participants will be recruited each year to participate in a Research Innovation Summer “Bridge” Camp. The Research Innovation: Summer “Bridge” Camp will provide high school students with early opportunities to participate in research projects and engage in cyber security competitions, as well as an on-campus college experience. Each high school student will receive a notebook computer on loan to complete AGORA assignments.
By working under the supervision of FSU research professors, participating undergraduate students will be prepared to proficiently conduct research at the Navy National Laboratories each summer. At the end of year one, 10 undergraduate students will be prepared to conduct research at the Navy National Laboratories; 15 at the end of year two; and 20 at the end of year three.
FSU is a constituent institution of The University of North Carolina and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in the state. FSU offers nearly 60 degrees at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. With nearly 6,000 students, Fayetteville State University is among the most diverse institutions in the nation.
SOURCE: McCorkle, LaShanta • June 18, 2014