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Kennesaw State University wins $900,000 National Science Foundation STEM grant

Five-year award benefits Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct 21, 2016) — The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Kennesaw State University two grants totaling $900,000 to improve minority participation and success in undergraduate and graduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs. 

LSAMP Scholars

LSAMP Scholars on Kennesaw Campus

Kennesaw State’s share is part of a $4 million grant over the next five years to fund a University of Georgia-directed project, “Peach State LSAMP – Extending the STEM Pipeline in the Peach State:  Mentorship, Research and Graduate School.” The NSF grant provides students with mentors, research opportunities and financial aid. 

Each of Kennesaw State’s campuses will receive $450,000 to implement program activities and initiatives. 

“Thanks to this NSF grant, Kennesaw State can continue its comprehensive and integrated series of recruitment and retention initiatives that address key transition points from undergraduate recruitment through preparation for graduate school,” said Adrian Epps, associate dean for external affairs and associate professor of educational leadership. Epps served as the principal investigator on the grant. 

When the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation began in 2005, Kennesaw State’s Marietta Campus (formerly Southern Polytechnic State University prior to consolidation in 2015) was one of the original members. Kennesaw State joined the Alliance in 2011. There are currently more than 50 LSAMP scholars at both campuses. 

The Marietta Campus LSAMP effort is led by David Veazie, professor of mechanical engineering, and Philip Patterson, associate professor of physics. 

“The ultimate goal of the Peach State LSAMP Program is to encourage minority scholars to pursue graduate degrees in STEM fields,” said Veazie, Marietta Campus LSAMP director. “This NSF LSAMP grant will enable minority undergraduate students to conduct cutting-edge research at an early stage of their education with top engineers and scientists in support of their applications to graduate schools.” 

Minority enrollment in STEM fields at Kennesaw State has increased from 1,760 in 2011 to 2,944 in 2014. The number of Bachelor of Science degrees earned by underrepresented minorities in STEM has risen from 238 in 2011 to 1,368 in 2014.

The Kennesaw Campus LSAMP effort is led by Melanie Griffin, assistant professor of biology-microbiology and Kennesaw Campus LSAMP director; Huggins Msimanga, professor of chemistry; and Epps. 

“An exciting aspect of this phase of the KSU program is the emphasis on the early engagement of LSAMP scholars in active research,” said Griffin. “We believe that the more and earlier in their academic career that we can get undergraduates ‘doing science,’ the more impact we can have on their overall retention in STEM, leading to a successful baccalaureate outcome.” 

In addition to Kennesaw State, the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) includes the University of Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University-Perimeter College and Savannah State University.

Kennesaw State is a leader in STEM diversity. For five consecutive years, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education has ranked the University among the nation’s top producers of African-American graduates in computer and information sciences, math, statistics and engineering.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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