The University of Georgia recently received a $638,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to support select incoming freshmen interested in the study of engineering/physics.
The program, Developing Excellence in Engineering and Physics, or DEEP, will provide approximately 20 scholarships to academically talented students with demonstrated financial need so they may pursue degrees in physics or a variety of engineering tracks, including agricultural, biochemical, biological, computer systems or environmental engineering.
"We need more students and professionals in these fields both here in Georgia and throughout the country," said Steven Lewis, principal investigator for the grant and associate professor of physics in UGA's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "There are tremendous workforce needs, and we need to prepare our students to fill those positions."
A key goal of the DEEP Scholars program is to recruit and retain students from groups traditionally underrepresented in physics and engineering, including women, African-Americans, Hispanics and first-generation college students.
Each incoming student will be assigned a faculty mentor from either the department of physics and astronomy or the College of Engineering who will guide pupils through the program of study, help solve any problems they encounter along the way and facilitate meetings with professionals who currently work in academia or industry.
"We want our students to network and interact with working scientists and engineers as much as possible," Lewis said. "Simply talking with different working professionals will let students see the variety of career options they can pursue and what skills they need to be successful in those positions."
DEEP students will participate in and plan several seminars throughout the academic year and an annual symposium, giving them the opportunity to present real scientific research and engineering design to an audience of their peers and mentors.
The program will fund eight students during the first year, followed by another class the following year. Assuming the students meet high performance standards, their funding will last for four years.
Center Director David P. Landau has been awarded a "Doctor Honoris Causa" by the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The American Astronomical Society prize was given to Kyle Walker for his thesis "Molecular Collisional Excitation in Astrophysical Environments and Modeling the Early Universe."