Report from National Science Foundation

Image of a student in a chemistry lab

Mark Leddy, an NSF Program Officer, shared data collected as part of NSF’s Participant Data Management System (PDMS), regarding the engagement of STEM students and mentors with disabilities in NSF-funded Alliance projects. The PDMS data shows, in part, how RDE-funded Alliances, such as AccessSTEM have supported activities in more than one dozen states and served thousands of primary, secondary, community college, and university students with disabilities.

Alliances provide research and industry internships, mentoring, and other evidence-based interventions for students with disabilities as well as professional development for educators and employees. The Alliances have also acted as a catalyst and resource for institutions and employers in their efforts to recruit and retain individuals with disabilities in STEM. They have distributed replication models, curriculum materials, checklists, videos, and other products. They contribute to a shared searchable Knowledge Base to maximize their impact.

Mark remarked that the NSF has made strong statements about moving forward with broadening participation, and that funding is moving towards education research and away from Alliance projects. Mark noted that this represents a real change from where we were ten years ago.