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National Science Foundation Awards Georgia Southern University Lifelong Learning Grant

The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $2.5 million award supporting Georgia Southern University researchers in addressing high demand workforce needs in information technology and computer science fields.

The funded project, “Enabling Lifelong Success in an Information Technology Workforce,” adapts and evaluates evidence-based student support activities within the IT Department. The goal of the project is to pull a group of highly qualified students and to render 161 scholarships over a six-year period in an effort to increase student retention and graduation rates. 

“This is great news for the IT program at Georgia Southern, and it will provide a positive impact to the surrounding area as businesses’ needs for IT professionals increase,” said Interim Vice President of Research and Economic Development, Chris Curtis, Ph.D.

Georgia Southern Professor and Department of InformationTechnology Chair Yiming Ji, Ph.D. is taking the lead on the grant, which has the potential to have a profound impact on students.

“This project will train a pool of talented students, especially those with financial needs, and prepare them for successful careers in IT. With scholarships from the grant, students will have time to focus on study, instead of having to work to make ends meet,” said Ji. “These students will also receive dedicated support, including academic advising, research opportunities, internship and career service, and much more. The result is that these students will become confident and have a greater future in IT careers.”

The project involves four researchers including Dr. Lei Chen (co-PI), Professor of IT, Dr. Hayden Wimmer (co-PI), Associate Professor of IT, Dr. Elise Cain (co-PI), Assistant Professor of Leadership, and Dr. Kania Greer (External Evaluator), Program Coordinator of the Center for STEM education. The project also received support from both the Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing and the Georgia Southern Office of Research. 

The national and regional demand for computer and IT professionals remains very high. 

“This project will directly benefit our local, regional and national economies,” said Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing Dean, Craig Harvey, Ph.D. “High-tech industries are already in and being attracted to the Savannah area, and the locations of Georgia Southern University’s campuses provide unique opportunities to train high-quality computing and IT professionals who are in high demand.”

The Department of Information Technology strives to grow both the undergraduate and graduate computer and IT programs at Georgia Southern, especially the new Ph.D. program in Applied Computing. This grant is the first of its kind to be received by the IT department. The department hopes that through the use of this grant, they will build stronger partnerships with businesses and federal or state government organizations, and others.

Last updated: 8/11/2023