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Recently, STEM faculty from seventeen historically black colleges and universities gathered in Washington, D.C. for the inaugural Center for Advancing STEM Leadership Program Residency.

Among them was Dr. Michelle D. Peterson, an associate professor of biology and associate dean in the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of the Virgin Islands.

“My CASL Leadership Action Learning Project is “Overcoming Advising Barriers to Retain STEM Majors at the University of the Virgin Islands,” Peterson says on the Center for Advancing STEM Leadership (CASL) website.

In 2016, the University of the Virgin Islands announced a $2.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation to launch the Center for Advancing STEM Leadership (CASL).

In partnership with the Fielding Graduate University, North Carolina A&T State University and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the center is studying strategies used by leaders of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in producing high levels of underrepresented populations in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“This is one of the major achievements of UVI in one of the most critical areas for educational and economic growth, and is indicative of our potential to work with other institutions and organizations to create a national model for success,” said Dr. David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands.

The Center for the Advancement of STEM Leadership received a $9 million grant in 2018 from the National Science Foundation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities – Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP).

This will not only contribute to the knowledge base on leadership development for broadening participation in STEM but also translate that evidence into institutional practices.

Dr. Peterson has worked on partnership building among University of the Virgin Islands’ College of Science and Mathematics, School of Education, and the Virgin Islands Department of Education. She is also the activity director for a project focused on expanding STEM opportunities for students at the Albert A. Sheen campus on St. Croix.

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