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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Science Foundation awarded the University of Missouri-Kansas City $100,000 to support the Integrating STEM Education Research Collaboration for Regional Prosperity.

The conference is designed to support researchers in science, technology, engineering and math education (STEM) as they collaborate to identify challenges, create opportunities and solutions to impact and educate the STEM workforce.

“Kansas City needs a more robust STEM workforce. At UMKC, STEM faculty have been addressing this need,” Alexis Petri, UMKC director of faculty support and associate research professor, said. “However, we believe a regional approach will bring increased urgency and collective impact to educating a skilled STEM workforce that meets employer demands.”

Topics will include:

  • Supporting student success in STEM majors by supporting intentionally inclusive educational research theories and practices
  • Using high-impact practices to retain STEM majors and foster interest in STEM careers
  • Building coalition among stakeholders
  • Sustaining a multi-institution ecosystem in the Kansas City region including social and cultural inclusiveness for student success.

According to KC Rising, a business collaborative focused on accelerating regional growth, the Kansas City region outperforms its peers in STEM employment, but fewer students are graduating with STEM-related degrees than four years ago, especially among Black and Hispanic students. 

“We think it’s possible that focused professional development on new strategic tools and research driven initiatives will provide increased traction for students and regional prosperity,” Petri said.