Hooke College Dean Named Co-investigator in Concordia University Chicago’s National Science Foundation Grant to Increase Diversity in STEM Programs

Westmont, IL (August 23, 2016) — Charles Zona, dean of students at Hooke College of Applied Sciences (HCAS), has been appointed co-principal investigator on a project funded by a $117,516 National Science Foundation grant awarded to Concordia University Chicago (CUC) as part of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, which assists universities and colleges in increasing the numbers of students in high-quality degree programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in order to diversify the STEM workforce.

The LSAMP Pre-Alliance Planning grant will allow CUC and partnering schools to engage in an 18-month planning process to examine research and best practices to coordinate effective and efficient tactics to reduce barriers for minorities in STEM-related fields. Partnering schools include Dominican University, Elmhurst College, HCAS, Oak Park and River Forest High School, and Proviso Math and Science Academy.

Zona said, “We are excited to be a part of this National Science Foundation funded collaboration with Concordia University Chicago and the other partnering organizations. By using this collaborative approach we hope to build a learning infrastructure that creates an efficient pathway thereby reducing the barriers for underrepresented minorities in STEM-related fields.”

Dr. Christopher Reigstad, associate professor of biology at CUC, will serve as principal investigator for the grant project. Along with Zona, co-principal investigators include Dr. Victor Govindaswamy, associate professor of computer science at CUC, Dr. Eve Mellgren, assistant professor of biology at Elmhurst College, and Dr. Christopher Anderson, assistant professor of biological sciences at Dominican University. The K-12 personnel involved are Matt Kirkpatrick, division head of Science and Technology at Oak Park and River Forest High School, and Amy Paulus of Proviso Math and Science Academy.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education in all non-medical fields of science and engineering. With an annual budget of about $7.0 billion, the NSF funds approximately 24% of all federally-supported basic research conducted by American colleges and universities.