LA-SiGMA, Shell kick off summer programs at Louisiana Tech

Jun 6, 2013 | Engineering and Science, Research and Development

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The Louisiana Alliance for Simulation-Guided Materials Applications (LA-SiGMA) and the Shell Northern Louisiana Regional Collaborative for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching kicked off two summer research programs this week on the campus of Louisiana Tech University with students and teachers from as far away as Maryland and Wisconsin in attendance.

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) targets talented college students from both in-state and out-of-state schools.  Attendees included Benjamin Beach (Louisiana Tech University), John Bell (Southern University at Shreveport-Bossier), Trenton Ford (Baton Rouge Community College), Tosin Oyeleke (University of Maryland Baltimore County), Cheryl Salmonson (University of Wisconsin Eau Claire/Madison), and Dyamond Williams (Southern University at Shreveport-Bossier).

LA-SiGMA-Shell 2013 REU students, RET teachers, and faculty research mentors

LA-SiGMA-Shell 2013 REU students, RET teachers, and faculty research mentors

“I’m looking forward to a lot of fun in a new environment as this is my first time in Louisiana,” said Oyeleke. “I’m also looking forward to a lot of productive research with a team of people with the same interests as mine.”

Alicia Boudreaux, North Louisiana Outreach Coordinator for LA-SiGMA, said faculty mentors and the student affairs staff from Louisiaina Tech and LA-SiGMA partner institution Grambling State University have played a significant part in welcoming these guests to campus.

“Their work has made a huge difference in the students’ and teachers’ first impression of our programs, and I am extremely grateful for everyone’s hospitality,” said Boudreaux.

The Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program hosts teachers from around Louisiana who have shown initiative and enthusiasm for bringing science research tools into their classrooms.  Attendees included Rod Abcede (Wossman High School), Theresa Do (Holly Ridge Elementary School), Aleta Overby (Simsboro High School), Holly Payton (I.A. Lewis), and Dr. Leif Sherry (Bossier Parish Community College).

Dr. Pedro Derosa, Larson Professor of Physics and joint faculty member between Louisiana Tech and Grambling State, is the project director of the Northern Louisiana Regional Collaborative.  He is also a research mentor for the REU and RET programs.

“I am looking forward to this summer, as it is always a renewed opportunity to teach, but also to learn,” said Derosa.  “Working with teachers is certainly a different experience, and the Regional Collaborative has given me this opportunity now extended through the LA-SiGMA program.  However, working with undergraduate students during summer does also feel different than working with them during the academic year. It is all very exciting.

“This year we have achieved a larger integration with Grambling, which for the first time is hosting a LA-SiGMA REU student, something that for me has already made this summer a success.”

The LA-SiGMA Alliance includes Louisiana Tech, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, University of New Orleans, Southern University, Xavier University and Grambling State University, and is funded by a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The Northern Louisiana Collaborative is an extension of the Texas Regional Collaborative, and has as its objective to provide professional development opportunities for K-12 teachers of science and mathematics.

Written by Alicia Boudreaux