Research Notes

Georgia Southern Awarded More Than $6 Million for Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students

Georgia Southern University is the recipient of two grants totaling $6.5 million from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Both grants are from the agency’s Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students (SDS)Program. Nandi A. Marshall, DrPH, and Joseph Telfair, DrPH, faculty members in the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health (JPHCOPH) secured a $3.25 million grant that will be awarded over the next five years in annual installments of $650,000 for scholarships to qualifying students in the Master of Public Health or Doctor of Public Health programs at Georgia Southern.

“We hope these funds can remove barriers for students who want to pursue graduate-level education, but due to financial constraints have otherwise been unable to continue their education.” said JPHCOPH Dean Stuart Tedders, Ph.D. “The timing of this grant could not be better as our communities have come to realize the critical role public health plays in society and the need we have for more practitioners. I am thrilled that Drs. Marshall and Telfair have secured these funds for our students.”

Students may receive individual scholarships of up to $40,000.

“We are excited about the opportunity for funding, but this program also aims to intentionally expose our students to opportunities that serve medically underserved communities,” said Marshall. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners to ensure our public health students can put our mission of eliminating health inequities into practice.”

$3.25 Million Grant to Increase Diversity in Health Professions

Keith Belcher, Ph.D., director of the Medical Laboratory Science program at Georgia Southern University, is the recipient of another HRSA grant valued at $3.25 million. The grant funds scholarships designed to increase diversity in the health professions and nursing workforce.

“We are excited about the opportunity to support students in the Medical Laboratory Science program,” said Barry Joyner, Ph.D., dean of the Waters College of Health Professions. “Our goal is to produce quality health care professionals, but we need a health care workforce that represents our communities. Greater diversity in healthcare professionals has been associated with improved access to health care for minority patients. With this grant, we will help address this need for greater diversity in the workforce.”

Belcher and co-investigators Charlotte Bates, DHSc, Amy Chall and Carol Jordan, designed the grant specifically for eligible students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science (MLS). Through 2025, up to $650,000 will be available each year for scholarships. The Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students program promotes diversity among the health professions by providing financial awards to academic institutions that use the funds for scholarships to diverse students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are enrolled full time in an eligible health profession or nursing program.

Grant Awards for Faculty on the Rise

Georgia Southern University faculty received a significant increase in grants and contract funding for research in the 2020 fiscal year. Faculty and staff received 144 awards totaling $10.7 million, which is nearly a 67% increase over the previous year. The University received $6.4 million in FY2019 and $5.6 million in FY2018. This year marks the first time that faculty-led research at Georgia Southern broke the $10 million threshold.

Vice Provost for Research Christopher Curtis, Ph.D., praised the faculty for their achievements.

“These are highly competitive awards from the state, the federal government and private enterprises,” he said. “To grow our research portfolio in a national environment of diminishing funding is truly remarkable and a testament to the intellectual firepower and creativity of our professors. Georgia Southern is a Public Impact Research university, which means that the success of these researchers will be felt well beyond the confines of the University and will extend across the region.”

Faculty engage in research that contributes significantly to the University’s $1.4 billion economic impact on the coastal region and that makes Georgia Southern a leading Public Impact Research university in the Southeast.

The Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing, the College of Science and Mathematics and the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health each received over $2 million in sponsored awards in FY2020.

$1.3 Million Grant to Help Disadvantaged Students

A $1.3 million, five-year Student Support Services (SSS) grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help 140 disadvantaged students on the Armstrong and Liberty campuses succeed academically. This is the University’s second consecutive SSS grant.

“We are elated that we have another five years to pour into the lives of these students who are often considered underrepresented,” said Corine Ackerson-Jones, director of TRIO Student Support Services. “I am truly blessed to have an awesome staff, a great support system within my division and strong collaborative commitments throughout the University. Of the students we have already served, 25% have graduated and 44% are still enrolled at Georgia Southern. It took the entire village to accomplish this.”

SSS helps college students who are low-income, first-generation or have disabilities. The grant provides various services that include tutoring, financial literacy and financial aid workshops, career and college mentoring, academic advising, course selection and other academic and personal assistance.