Lee News

iMASS Program Concludes Second Year


The Lee University Integrated Mathematics and Science Scholars (iMASS) program recently closed its second year. iMASS is funded by a grant awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the federal agency’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (S-STEM) program.

iMASS is for rising second-year students in the sciences and mathematics who are both academically talented and financially qualified. Scholars will receive a total of $20,000 in scholarships over three years. The goal of the program is to increase the number of exceptional students who earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. iMASS prepares students to enter competitive graduate programs or employment in STEM-related fields.

“This past year, the iMASS program has continued to cultivate an academically-driven community of science and math students by providing enriching learning experiences,” said Jessica Mitchum, rising senior and biological science major. “These experiences include trips to graduate school programs, guest speakers from local graduate schools and the STEM field, dynamic classes, and more. I look forward to this next school year and the opportunities that the iMASS program has to bring.”

Through this program, 29 students have had the opportunity to participate in various educational experiences, and 14 of those students have received scholarships. This year, iMASS scholars received focused attention on resume and research preparation. They attended lectures from various industry partners including Bayer and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville (UTK) and visited UTK and Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL).

The program is led by Lee professors Dr. Sherry Kasper, associate professor of biology; Dr. Blayne Carroll, professor of mathematics; and Dr. Sarah Schlosser, assistant professor of chemistry.

“I believe the S-STEM program has allowed us to extend wonderful educational and extracurricular opportunities to our talented STEM students,” said Kasper. “We have had the opportunity to expose them to scientists and mathematicians who speak with them weekly, in addition to visiting UTK and ORNL where we stood inside of a 3D printed house. We hope this exposure sparks their passion for STEM and helps them to see the endless possibilities in this field.”

Junior biochemistry major Elizabeth Landry and junior biology major Richard Aldan, both from iMASS’s second cohort, had the opportunity to participate in summer research internships. Landry’s internship was with the Appalachian College Association, while Aldan’s was at the University of Nebraska.

This fall, iMASS welcomes an additional 23 students joining the program, with eight of those receiving scholarships.

The NSF is an independent federal agency created by the National Science Foundation Act of 1950. Its aim is to promote and advance scientific progress in the United States. The Foundation is also committed to ensuring the nation's supply of scientists, engineers, and science educators.

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