UA Cossatot Receives NSF ATE Grant
April 22, 2021
UA Cossatot is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant for its "GIS-Skilled Technicians in Agriculture-Related Sciences (GSTARS)" proposal within the College's Agriculture and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs. The primary goal of the GSTARS project is to design and implement a curriculum that meets the region’s need for technician-level GIS skills in agriculture and related science industries. The $299,635 grant will create pathways for future GIS Technicians to enter the local workforce.
The National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program supports the development of innovative approaches for educating highly skilled technicians for the industries that drive the nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary institution school levels.
The GSTARS program will include the integration of GIS skills into existing agriculture and science courses, the creation of a new course (Introduction to GIS in Agriculture) within the agriculture department, and the addition of a Certification of Proficiency in GIS Technology through the agriculture program. Students will use applications of analysis of spatial data using ESRI’s ArcGIS tools in data collection, remote sensing, map design, and spatial analysis.
The GSTARS team includes agriculture faculty and primary investigator (PI), Kelli Harris; co-PI’s Robert Guillory, science faculty, and, Crystal Sims, Chair of the Division of General Education; and external evaluators, The New Growth Group. New Growth is an evaluation and analytics firm based in Cleveland, Ohio, specializing in workforce development. Several industry representatives will also serve on the program's advisory board to assist in curriculum development and provide important career insight to students enrolled in this program. Some of the local employers represented on the board include Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and Arkansas Forestry Division.
“This grant will offer an innovative pathway for students pursuing careers in agriculture and science, and it will provide valuable skills in emerging technology. These skills are crucial to the success of our students and our economy. We are excited to help these students achieve their dreams and support a vibrant, high-tech workforce in southwest Arkansas" said GSTARS team leader and agriculture faculty, Kelli Harris.
Funding will begin in July 2021 and will enable the UA Cossatot team to receive training and develop GIS curriculum that will include exploring mapped data; learning to utilize remote sensing technologies; recording, analyzing, and presenting spatial data using GIS analysis tools from ESRI ArcGIS; and creating maps, images and apps to communicate spatial data. As a step towards diversifying the workforce, UA Cossatot’s collaboration with the public schools will place special emphasis on recruiting underrepresented minority students in skilled technician positions.
To learn more about this grant, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.