Greater Alabama Black Belt Region (GABBR) STEM Program
The GABBR Black Belt STEM Program, launched in Fall 2017, is an extension of the Greater Alabama Black Belt Region Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (GABBR LSAMP). 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, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, and Wilcox counties) by expanding their content knowledge in core subject areas (mathematics, science, and English) and mentoring, allowing them to progress along a path toward college/university admission and successful studies in STEM.
A key component of the program is the in-person five-week STEM Summer Academy. Academies were implemented at Bullock County High School in Union Springs, Alabama in 2018 and 2019. In 2020, a virtual academy was held using Zoom software for students from Bullock, Macon, Montgomery, and Elmore Counties. Classes for the Academy are held from 8am to 12noon Monday through Thursday. In addition to classroom work, students have participated in hands-on learning activities, virtual NASA simulations, and traveled for field trips to Franklin Field Airport in Union Springs, Southern Power Plant Franklin in Smiths Station, the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, and the Auburn University Regional Airport and Auburn University campus. A graduation ceremony for the students is held at the conclusion of each academy.
In 2021, GABBR LSAMP plans to expand the program to serve students from eight counties in the Black Belt region: Bullock, Dallas, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Pike, Russell, and Sumter. The 2021 program will take place virtually, with classes being taught through Zoom. The program is supported by GABBR LSAMP, Auburn University, the Alabama State Department of Education, Alabama K-12 School Districts, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.