Kentucky’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Enhanced Robotics and Structures has the potential to not only advance knowledge across many scientific fields but benefit our society and contribute to desired societal outcomes with what we call broader impacts. Our plan to extend the impact of NSF funding across Kentucky involves a comprehensive set of integrated activities and programs that provide a pathway for broadening participation and increasing the number of students who pursue and obtain STEM degrees and college-level, additive manufacturing job training and certification.
During the five years of this project, a diverse group of researchers from 8 academic institutions, including the Commonwealth’s only public HBCU (historically black college or university) and 3 institutions in Appalachia, will help prepare a workforce capable of meeting the needs of advanced manufacturing sectors in Kentucky and beyond. Preparation of the highly trained workforce needed to populate and drive the success of technology-based industries requires a multi-pronged approach that enhances K-12 STEM education and continues through undergraduate, graduate, and early-career programs.
Project Co-PI, Dr. Czarena Crofcheck, serves as faculty lead for our broader impact elements, and works closely with the science leads to provide connectivity between KY NSF EPSCoR research and education activities. Similar to our education and outreach elements, broader impact goals are built into our NSF-funded science and like the multidisciplinary nature of our scientific research, KY NSF EPSCoR’s broader impacts come in many forms.
The Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board has prioritized the development of a path leading to equitable job growth in promising industries, such as advanced manufacturing, that are projected to lead to sustainable economic development. We share that vision and work to recruit, train, and retain a diverse workforce with the specific knowledge and skills to be better prepared for careers in advanced manufacturing. With integrated activities focused on mentorship and collaboration, our workforce development pathway starts with providing resources and support for K-12 educators to address gaps in advanced manufacturing related education and continues through the professional development training of undergraduate, graduate, and early-career STEM talent.
Below is a clip from Kazi Javed, Professor at Kentucky State University and Director of their PLTL program.
SEED FUNDING & EMERGING AREAS
Kentucky NSF EPSCoR provides funding support for scientists, educators, and companies across the commonwealth. Annual funding cycles for innovative high-impact and transformative research efforts as well as novel education and training enhancements related to advanced manufacturing open July 1, with Request for Proposals solicited in December for a May 15 submission deadline.
To see a great example of seed funding, check out our feature video about Kyle Schnitzenbaumer, Professor at Transylvania University and recipient of a research award from 2020:
Our goal is a culture of programs and partnerships that increase accessibility and inclusivity in STEM; heighten the impact of our accountability systems; and form pathways around education-to-workforce barriers. Increasing Kentucky’s research capacity starts with intentional recruitment for our academic and professional opportunities. Offering competitive financial support and active mentoring for our participants from racial, ethnic and gender minorities, as well as first-generation college students, persons with disabilities, and students from Appalachia ensures the strength of Kentucky is fully engaged to achieve our desired research and organizational outcomes.
This clip is from our conversation with Dr. Johne Parker and Dr. Angelique Johnson of MemStim, as part of a great interview!
PARTNERSHIPS + COLLABORATION
We leverage resources and promote sustainability across the Commonwealth with internal and external partnerships, networking and training programs. We actively seek collaborative opportunities to increase the impact of our research, respond to state and national skill and diversity gaps, and improve productivity of industry-university research.
COMMUNICATION + DISSEMINATION
As a statewide partnership of 8 institution separated by up to 220 miles, virtual communication is in our DNA. Through our e-newsletter we maximize sharing results of strategic goals, cross-institutional collaborations, and connections for future work. We also develop and distribute engaging content on our social media platforms to help promote public awareness and support for advanced manufacturing systems throughout Kentucky.