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KY innovative water program - bridging STEM and Appalachia

KY innovative water program - bridging STEM and Appalachia


By Blake Jackson

The University of Kentucky is launching a groundbreaking program to tackle water resource challenges and promote sustainability in the Appalachian region. The "Multidisciplinary Approaches for Overcoming Water Resources and Sustainable Engineering Challenges in Appalachian Regions" program will provide research opportunities for undergraduate students, particularly those from underrepresented groups in STEM fields.

Funded by a National Science Foundation grant, the program kicks off next summer and will host 10 students annually for three years. Participants will receive a stipend, housing, food, and the chance to work on real-world research projects.

The program prioritizes inclusivity, aiming for 60% of participants to come from institutions with limited research opportunities, 50% from underrepresented groups in STEM, and 40% to be first-generation college students from Appalachia. It also emphasizes community engagement by integrating existing student researchers and partnering with local communities.

The program focuses on two main areas:

  • Environmental and Water Resource Challenges: Students will explore solutions for issues like flooding, waste management, and water quality. They'll investigate innovative practices such as using wetlands, biochar, and hemp for remediation.
  • Sustainable Engineering and Economic Feasibility: This track examines sustainable engineering practices and their economic impact on local communities. Students will delve into new industries, managing agricultural waste, and improving infrastructure.

By working with faculty mentors on projects directly benefiting Appalachian communities, students will gain valuable experience in developing solutions specific to the region.

Building a Stronger STEM Workforce and Future

The program aims to inspire participants to pursue further education and careers in STEM fields. This will contribute to a more diverse and qualified STEM workforce in Appalachia. Students will also present their research findings, fostering knowledge sharing and community engagement.

The program's impact extends beyond academic research. By involving students in community-focused projects, it aims to build a more resilient future for Appalachian regions. Overall, this initiative seeks to generate new knowledge, promote STEM education, and provide practical solutions for a sustainable Appalachia.

Photo Credit: university-of-kentucky

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Categories: Kentucky, Education

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