Summer Program Faculty Directors and Participants Represent College at Emerging Researchers National Conference

By Anna Claire Toxey

Drs. Steven Weinman and Stephen Ritchie recently represented the College of Engineering at the 2024 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Washington, D.C.

Stacey Hudnell with Poster
Stacey Hudnell

The annual conference is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Inclusive STEM Ecosystems for Equity & Diversity Programs, and National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Equity for Excellence in STEM (EES) and seeks to highlight various programs funded by the NSF EES Unit.

Weinman is the principal investigator of an NSF Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation grant, which has provided six-week educational summer programs for students and educators from underrepresented populations since 2022. The program is focused on solving the ever-growing problem of plastic waste. Students from Shelton State Community College and Stillman College, as well as teachers from Tuscaloosa City Schools, participate in the program on UA’s campus to experience what it is like to conduct research in an academic lab.


Joy Jones with Poster
Joy Jones

“This program, which is funded through a Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) supplement through an original NSF grant, provides the opportunity for participants to perform hands-on experiments in an academic research lab, learn and practice scientific writing and presenting, and learn more about themselves and what opportunities they might want to pursue in the future,” Weinman said. “It has been incredible to watch the participants’ growth and confidence from the first to last weeks of the programs.”

In addition to participating in a variety of professional development activities during the program, participants are also offered the unique opportunity to attend the ERN Conference in STEM and present their work to attendees. This year, seven program participants joined Weinman and Ritchie for the conference.

“Having the participants join us at this conference is very rewarding,” Weinman said. “It offers the opportunity for us to reconnect with them after the summer program ends. The participants get to present a poster and receive feedback on their work, and we get to learn from the experiences of a diverse set of speakers at the ERN conference. It is impactful to see all the different paths people take to reach their goals in their respective careers.”

Learn more about the ERN Conference in STEM.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,200 students and more than 170 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.

Author: Anna Claire Toxey    /    Posted on: May 13, 2024    /    Posted in:   Chemical and Biological Engineering, Events, Faculty and Staff, Featured, Students    /    Features:   ,