Lee News

iMASS Program Helps First Group of Graduates Pursue STEM-related Careers

iMass Scholars Graduate
The first cohort of iMass scholars is pictured above with NSM faculty.

Lee University’s Integrated Mathematics and Science Scholars (iMASS) program graduated its first cohort of scholars this May. The iMASS program, funded by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), seeks to increase STEM-related career development and partnerships with local STEM industry to raise awareness of the various STEM career paths available and help to meet the growing employment needs of the Tennessee Valley STEM industry.

This happens through focused attention on resume, research, and CV preparation, lectures from various industry and research university partners including Bayer and the University of Tennessee and site visits to locations including Oak Ridge National Labs. The program’s intensive mentoring and collaborative research guided by Lee faculty promote successful transition to graduate and professional school or employment in science and math-related fields.

From this group of 13 graduating scholars, the post-college goals and aspirations vary, according to Sheila Daft, grant coordinator of Lee’s Department of Natural Science and Mathematics.

Jessica Mitchum from Lenoir City, Tennessee, is attending dental school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ridge Sliger from Athens, Tennessee, is pursuing a Master of Science in forestry and natural resources at the University of Georgia. Josey Carroll from Cleveland, Tennessee, is pursuing her PhD in mathematics with an emphasis in combinatorics and algorithm analysis at Auburn University. Other graduates are entering medical school, pharmacy school, other graduate programs, or pursuing employment in research labs.

“One of the most rewarding experiences during undergrad at Lee was my involvement in the iMASS program,” said Mitchum. “The iMASS program gave me the resources I needed to pursue my dream of going to dental school. Through seminars and professor's mentorship, it truly helped guide me in building a competitive application with job shadowing, mentoring, and research experience.”

iMass is funded, in part, by a grant through NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program for academically talented students. The grant provides scholarship support for those participants within the iMASS program who have financial need.

For more information about the iMASS program, contact Dr. Sherry Kasper at (423) 614-8659.
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