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National Science Foundation awards almost $3M to Georgia Southern to launch research and mentoring program 

Checo Colón-Gaud, Ph.D., associate dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and principal investigator for a National Science Foundation grant, totaling almost $3M, that will be used for a research and mentoring program.

The National Science Foundation awarded nearly $3 million to Georgia Southern University to launch the Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates (RaMP) program. At each university, RaMP supports approximately 10 students per year in gaining full-time research experience, mentoring for potential career paths and building a network of professional contacts. 

Georgia Southern’s project, “Mentoring and Research Opportunities for Careers in Coastal Science (MROC2S),” aims to aid those with little to no exposure to research or the resources to do so. 

“The target is to benefit underrepresented minority students to increase diversity in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields,” said Checo Colón-Gaud, Ph.D., associate dean of the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies and the project’s principal investigator (PI). 

Beginning in August 2024, participating students will be given an annual stipend. The postbaccalaureate fellows will have the opportunity to learn regional-specific natural resource science and participate in meaningful training with their peers before entering the field. 

“It would benefit those who are not yet sure if they want to pursue careers in natural resource science or graduate studies after earning their undergraduate degree,” Colón-Gaud added. 

Georgia Southern’s awarded fund will extend through 2027, and with 10 participants at a time, Colón-Gaud anticipates that this “significant and transformative” experience should strengthen the workforce. 

Colón-Gaud is joined by three additional faculty members as co-PIs: John Carroll, Ph.D., associate professor of biology; Lacey Huffling, Ph.D., associate professor of middle grades and secondary education; and Asli Aslan, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Water and Health.


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