Greater Alabama Black Belt Region (GABBR) STEM Initiative
As an extension of the Greater Alabama Black Belt Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GABBR LSAMP) Program, the GABBR Black Belt STEM Initiative was launched in Fall, 2017. The goal of the program is to increase college readiness among students from the Black Belt Region of Alabama (including Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Gale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Russell, Sumter, and Wilcox counties) by expanding their content knowledge in core subject areas, allowing them to progress along a path toward college/university admission and successful studies in STEM.
The inaugural five-week STEM Summer Academy was implemented at Bullock County High School in Union Springs, Alabama from May 29 to June 28, 2018, and the second academy was implemented from May 28 to June 27, 2019. Thirty students from Bullock County Schools in Grades 6-9 participated in 2018 and 32 in Grades 6-11 participated in 2019. Classes were held from 8am to 12noon Monday through Thursday. In addition to classroom work, students participated in hands-on learning activities and went on field trips to Franklin Field Airport in Union Springs and Southern Power Plant Franklin in Smiths Station in 2018 and to US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville in 2019. In both years, students visited Auburn University Regional Airport in Auburn and toured Auburn University campus. A graduation ceremony for the students was held at the Bullock County Career Technical Center at end of each academy.
In 2020, GABBR LSAMP plans to continue the program in Bullock County as well as expanding to Macon and Montgomery counties in the Black Belt Region. The 2020 program will be a virtual academy with all activities held via online platforms. The program is supported by GABBR LSAMP, Auburn University, the Alabama State Department of Education, Bullock County School District, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.