U.S. Department of Agriculture: Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields Program
The purpose of the Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fields (WAMS) program is to support research, education/teaching, and extension projects that increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Applicants must highlight and emphasize the development of a competent and qualified workforce in the FAHN sciences. WAMS-funded projects should improve the economic health and viability of rural communities by developing research and extension initiatives that focus on new and emerging employment opportunities in STEM occupations. Projects that contribute to the economic viability of rural communities are also encouraged.
Leadership Skills Development: The development of leadership skills, knowledge, and qualities are necessary to prepare students for agricultural and related careers in the private sector, government, and academia. WAMS education/teaching applications must demonstrably incorporate a leadership development component to equip students with technical and leadership abilities upon graduation.
Specific activities may include:
- Developing practical applications to increase understanding of leadership roles, including critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills; ethics and professionalism; and working in teams
- Connecting the academic classroom experience with daily leadership roles and organizational activities
- Providing opportunities for mentoring and shadowing
- Organizing leadership academies, workshops, trainings, etc.
Social and Behavioral Science Disciplines: Projects that integrate social and behavioral sciences to provide experiential learning opportunities for students in applied research and related community development programs. Incorporation of social and behavioral sciences is important for addressing many of the challenges facing agriculture and rural communities, such as increasing global demand for food production in the face of limited natural resources; improving health and reducing obesity; and increasing economic opportunities.
Advancement in U.S. Food, Agriculture, and Forestry: In an increasingly interconnected world, these domestic advancements have global importance and may require information and cooperation from beyond borders. Any proposed activity (e.g., partnerships, exchanges, training, and/or travel), must support the domestic objectives of WAMS. Applicants must clearly describe and demonstrate how international activities proposed in applications submitted to WAMS will contribute to advances in U.S. agriculture. When proposing international activities, applicants must describe the metrics that will be used for reporting beneficial outputs and outcomes. These metrics should reflect how the proposed international collaboration adds value to achieving the WAMS program’s objectives by introducing innovative technologies/approaches, promoting synergistic science, addressing issues of mutual concern, or other means.
A proposed project must address one or more Educational Need Areas and/or be an Applied Project that addresses research, outreach, and capacity building to benefit the communities served, especially that of their students.
- Educational Need Areas: WAMS projects should focus on the purpose of one or more of the following Need Areas: Curriculum Design, Materials Development, and Library Resources; Faculty Preparation and Enhancement of Teaching; Instruction Delivery Systems; Scientific Instrumentation for Teaching and Research; Student Experiential Learning; Student Recruitment, Retention, and Educational Equity (including the provision of student financial assistance).
- Applied Projects: In addition to the Education Need Areas, applicants may choose to develop studies that have relevancy and application within the communities that these institutions serve. These include: Applied Studies in the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences; Applied Research Support Systems; Technology-based Information Delivery Systems; and Other Applied Research and Community Development Applications
Amount: Approximately $400,000 is available to make awards of up to $100,000 per eligible institution. The project period may range from 24 to 36 months.
Eligibility: State agricultural experiment stations; colleges and universities; university research foundations; other research institutions and organizations; Federal agencies; national laboratories; private organizations or corporations; and individuals.
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