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Over 25 participants from across the country gathered this past weekend at Auburn University for the 2020 South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM, or SEAPD-STEM, workshop and conference as part of the National Science Foundation, or NSF, INCLUDES Design and Development launch Pilots, or DDLP, alliances initiative.

SEAPD-STEM is based on the highly successful NSF research in disabilities, or RDE, Alabama Alliance for Students with Disabilities in STEM, or AASD-STEM, and consists of 22 colleges and universities in the southeast with Auburn as the lead institution. Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science, or NSF INCLUDES, is one of the 10 "big ideas" for future NSF investments, and aims to improve access to STEM education and career pathways at the national scale, making them more widely inclusive to underserved populations.

Overtoun Jenda, assistant provost for special projects and initiatives and professor of mathematics at Auburn, is the principal investigator on this grant. His office hosted the annual, two-day conference by bringing together faculty and experts from across the country to participate in the further development of the Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or TAPD-STEM, which is a national initiative. TAPD-STEM is based on the SEAPD-STEM DDLP and leverages the previous five NSF RDE alliances lead by Auburn University, Ohio State University, University of Hawaii, University of Missouri Kansas City and the University of Washington.

The primary goals of SEAPD-STEM are to develop and implement scalable interventions for increasing the quantity of persons with disabilities completing associate, undergraduate and graduate degrees in STEM disciplines and entering the STEM workforce, and increase the quantity of post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty with disabilities in STEM fields.

For more information on the South East Alliance for Persons with Disabilities in STEM, click here or contact includes@auburn.edu.