Twenty MTSU rising sophomores participated in this year’s FirstSTEP Immersion program.
Mainly working as teams and assisted by faculty and graduate and undergraduate students in five major concentrations, these FirstSTEP Immersion students received an intensive four-week focus in research during May and June.
“This is wonderful,” said Adanna Omatu, a native of Nigeria now living in Nashville. “I am getting experience in my field (biology). You also get to go out into the real world and gain hands-on experience.”
In addition to biology, which was supervised by Dr. Bruce Cahoon, other majors and supervisors included geosciences with Dr. Mark Abolins, engineering technology with Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, physics with Dr. Bill Robertson and chemistry with Dr. Sing Chong.
“I’ve been surprised at how well they have done,” said Dr. Chris Stephens, the program’s director and an associate professor in mathematical sciences. “They learned as much in two weeks as you would in a freshman course. They’ve taken ownership, gotten engaged and worked well together. They’ve worked hard on these projects.”
Last year, MTSU received $1.1 million from the National Science Foundation to implement a program to improve success rates in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, disciplines.
Dr. Tom Cheatham, dean for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, served as coordinator of the FirstSTEP program. Stephens oversaw this spring’s initial program.
— Randy Weiler, jweiler@ mtsu.edu