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ABAC hosts Southwest Georgia LSAMP summit


TIFTON—Students from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College recently participated in the 2024 Southwest Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Annual Summit. This event was hosted at ABAC in late February.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, LSAMP promotes historically underrepresented students in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. The overall mission of the Southwest Georgia LSAMP is to increase the number of qualified underrepresented minorities receiving baccalaureate degrees in STEM and those entering graduate school and the workforce.

Students from around the region were able to attend professional development sessions, listen to a variety of speakers on wide-ranging topics, participate in a poster presentation and competition, and interact with other LSAMP scholars from across the state.

“The LSAMP grant provides our students with opportunities to participate in research and mentoring experiences provided by dedicated STEM faculty at ABAC, as well as supporting them financially via a stipend and dedicated meeting travel funds,” said Dr. Heather Cathcart, a professor in the School of Arts and Sciences at ABAC. “The students are engaged early and able to see the possibilities of STEM education and STEM career goals.”

ABAC students Christopher Hernandez, Andrew Jimenez, Nashra Layla, Barbara McFadden, and Alex Ramirez-Silva presented original research at the summit.

Attendees were able to hear a presentation from Shannon Gregory, chief of flight operations and lead pilot at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. Gregory plans, directs, and coordinates all aspects of the center’s flight operations, launch, recovery, and flight tests, as well as provides Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) regulatory flight oversight to the Stennis Space Center, the Marshall Space Flight Center, and NASA Michoud Assembly Factory. SWGA LSAMP Alliance Director Dr. Monica Frazier from Columbus State University also addressed the students.

Other speakers included ABAC faculty members Dr. Olumide Aborsade, Dr. Matthew Anderson, Dr. Adrian Israel Martinez-Franco, and Madison Thornhill; Dr. Claudia Dunkley from the University of Georgia’s Tifton Campus; Dr. Andrea Dawn Frazier from Columbus State University; Dr. Kendrick Savage from Georgia Gwinnett College; Barbara Rivera Holmes, President and CEO of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and member of the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents; Christina H. Owens with the Food and Drug Administration; and Dr. Alan Valdiviezo of Corteva Agriscience.

Any students or faculty interested in participating in LSAMP should contact Dr. Heather Cathcart, Dr. Abul Sheikh, or Dr. Michael Maw at for more information.


Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College student Andrew Jimenez presents original research at the LSAMP summit.

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