UMKC Receives Significant STEM Funding

The National Science Foundation awards $100,000 to support collaborative programming

The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Missouri-Kansas City $100,000 to support the Integrating STEM Education Research Collaboration for Regional Prosperity.

The conference is designed to support researchers in science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) as they collaborate to develop a regional STEM ecosystem that will identify challenges, opportunities and solutions to impact and educate the STEM workforce. The Integrating STEM conference will focus on professional development in conjunction with bringing together postsecondary faculty and administration, STEM communities and civic leaders to discuss the challenges of attracting and maintaining a diverse student pipeline that leads to graduation and career success, which fuels regional economic development.

Alexis Petri, director of faculty support and associate research professor, is the principal investigator for this project.

“We think it’s possible that focused professional development on new strategic tools and research driven initiatives will provide increased traction for students and regional prosperity.”- Alexis Petri

“Kansas City needs a more robust STEM workforce,” Petri says. “At UMKC, STEM faculty have been addressing this need. However, we believe a regional approach will bring increased urgency and collective impact to educating a skilled STEM workforce that meets employer demands.”

According to KC Rising, a business collaborative focused on accelerating regional growth, the Kansas City region outperforms its peers in STEM employment, but fewer students are graduating with STEM-related degrees than four years ago, especially among Black and Hispanic students. 

“We think it’s possible that focused professional development on new strategic tools and research driven initiatives will provide increased traction for students and regional prosperity,” Petri says.

During the three-day conference, participants will discuss six topics critical to the Greater Kansas City STEM education research ecosystem:

  • Supporting student success in STEM majors by supporting intentionally inclusive educational research theories and practices
  • Transforming the first-year college experience – innovative educational technology and inclusive pedagogies for student learning and retention in STEM
  • Smoothing transitions from two- to four-year institutions – opportunities and challenges for institutional partnerships
  • Using high-impact practices to retain STEM majors and foster interest in STEM careers
  • Building coalition among stakeholders
  • Sustaining a multi-institution ecosystem in the Kansas City region including social and cultural inclusiveness for student success.

The conference is designed to encourage diverse viewpoints, the opportunity to engage with experts, and discuss the application of the presented information into real-world settings.

 “Through the Integrating STEM education research efforts, UMKC seeks to promote collaboration among postsecondary institutions and community organizations to determine whether application of education research – existing and new – could support systemic, large- scale change,” says Chris Lui, Ph.D., vice chancellor of research. “These efforts ensure that UMKC is a regional stronghold for student learning, faculty and staff development and workforce production.”

To receive more information on Integrating STEM, including how to participate in the online conference, please contact Petri at


Published: Sep 2, 2020
Posted In: Research

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