Valdosta State University is a member of the Southwest Georgia STEM Pathways Alliance (SWGA-SPA) program.  The SWGA-SPA is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, created to provide support to underrepresented minority (URM) students (African Americans, Hispanic Americans, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and Native Pacific Islanders).  The goal of this program is to transform the STEM learning environment by significantly increasing the number of URM majors graduating with baccalaureate degrees and applying to graduate programs in the STEM disciplines.

The Southwestern Georgia STEM Pathways Alliance is an alliance of five institutions in southwestern Georgia, including Valdosta State University. The SWGA-SPA program will support admitted students by providing financial support in addition to academic and research support through faculty mentoring, research internships, group meetings, annual conferences, and graduate school preparation.

Program Benefits:

In addition to the financial stipends, participants will receive the benefits of the following program components:

  • Mentoring
  • Research internship opportunities
  • Annual research conference and graduate school fair meetings
  • Preparation for the Graduate Research Examination (GRE)

Who Can Apply?

To be eligible for the program, the following requirements must be met:

  • Be a URM student enrolled at one of the partner institutions listed in the table below
  • Pursue an associate or undergraduate degree in an LSAMP approved STEM discipline
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident with a documented qualifying condition (see application for types of conditions)
  • Have a GPA of at least a 2.5 in high school (for entering Freshman) or college as calculated by the HOPE scholarship program or a 145 GED score

 Partner Institutions in LSAMP SWGA-SPA

Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Southwestern State University
Columbus State University Valdosta State University
Columbus Technical College

 To maintain eligibility requirements, participants must:

  • Be a full-time URM student in an LSAMP approved STEM discipline, with a cumulative institutional GPA above the applicant eligibility requirement
  • Participate in required activities
  • Demonstrate a commitment to excellence both inside and outside of the classroom within their chosen STEM discipline

To Apply - Application Period Open! Click here to apply.

For more information, you can view the program flier here: SWGA-SPA LSAMP Recruitment Packet (rev 2024)

VSU LSAMP Contact Information

Interested in applying but unsure if you meet the requirements?  Want to learn more about LSAMP and SWGA-SPA?  Do you have questions regarding the application process, research opportunities, and how LSAMP can benefit you?  Please reach out to any of the following faculty members and they will be happy to answer any questions.

Dr. Linda de la Garza, Co-PI, VSU Campus Coordinator: ldelagarza@valdosta.edu

Dr. Erin Grabarczyk, Co-Coordinator and Academic Support Faculty: egrabarczyk@valdosta.edu

Dr. Jason Allard, VSU Mentor Coordinator: jmallard@valdosta.edu 

VSU LSAMP Activities

There are many opportunities to get involved with VSU LSAMP including monthly meetings, activities, research opportunities, and conferences.  View the list below and discover how you can get plugged in.



2023-2024 SWGA-SPA LSAMP Meetings

  • August 14 - 6:30 pm @ BSC 2020: Sharing Summer Experiences and Research Plans
  • September 11 - 6:30 pm @ BSC 2020: Guest Speaker Dr. Danniebelle Haase (Research Scientist, DOW), Making Decisions Watch her TED Talk by clicking here.
  • October 16 - 6:30 pm @ BSC 2020: Updates on Research and Posters for Conference
  • November 13 - 6:30 pm @ BSC 2020: Experience Debrief & Resume Building
  • January 30 - 7:30 pm @ BSC 3026: Possible Selves and Mentoring, a workshop for mentors and mentees
  • February 12 - 8:00 pm @ BSC 3026: Research Updates
  • March 26 - 7:30 pm @ BSC 3026: Alumni Speakers
  • April 22 - 7:30 pm @BSC 3026: End of Year Celebration

2023-2024 Events

2023 Events:

  • August 19: 9:00 am Ropes Leadership Challenge (VSU Outdoors)
  • September 7: 12:30 pm Depart to Tour FSU Research Facilities
  • September 22: 12:00 pm Mentoring Luncheon
  • October 28-30: Southwestern Meeting of the American Chemical Society (Durham, NC) https://sermacs2023.org/
  • November 10-11: Georgia Undergraduate Research Conference (Valdosta, GA) https://www.valdosta.edu/urc/gurc/
  • November 30: 6:30 pm Applying to Internships, Scholarships, and Graduate School

2024 Events:


Research Opportunities

Check back for research opportunities in 2024!

News Items

  • VSU LSAMP Scholar Jasmine Freeman has been selected to participate in the 2023 Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, CA. There, along with a research mentor, Jasmine will analyze data to identify planets outside the solar system. Jasmine also won first place at the 2023 Southwest Georgia Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Summit Juried Poster Competition in Columbus. Read more about Jasmine Freeman's research award here.
  • VSU LSAMP Scholar Airionna Fordham will become a SCI Scholar with an internship at Trinseo, a sustainable materials industry in Dalton, GA. The Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Scholar Internship Program provides industrial internships for chemistry and chemical engineering undergraduates.  Airionna was also awarded the Best Poster Overall in STEM Award at the 2023 VSU Symposium of Undergraduate Research Poster session. Ms. Fordham along with eight LSAMP Scholars presented their research as posters or in oral presentations this April 10-14, 2023. To read more about the 2023 URC's Undergraduate Research Symposium including the program, abstracts, and list of awards, click here.
  • VSU LSAMP Scholar Jazmin Borges won the People’s Choice Award at the 2023 Southwest Georgia Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Summit Juried Poster Competition in Columbus for her work with the endangered gopher tortoise.  Click here to read more.
  • Clarice Phelps, nuclear chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, visted with VSU Biology and Chemistry Students. Read more by clicking here.
  • Dr. Patricia Bath, inventor of laserphaco and the first Black woman physician to receive a medical patent, will be posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). Read more about Dr. Bath and her accomplishments here.  To view the entire list of 2022 NIHF inductees, click here.
  • There are numerous Hispanic scientists that have made groundbreaking contributions to a wide variety of STEM fields.  They may not yet be household names but they deserve recognition for the impact they've made within their respective disciplines.  Click here to read more about these influential scientists.
  • The faculty of VSU's Chemistry Department recorded a message for National Chemistry Week, celebrated the week of October 17th - 23rd, 2021.  View the message by clicking here.

LSMRCE Newsletters

September 2023

January 2023

September 2022

June 2022

February 2022

December 2021

October 2021

September 2021

Additional Resources

Helpful Links:

NSF - LSAMP page 

Regional Meeting page

VSU Undergraduate Research Council

NSF - REU Opportunities

ACS Scholars

Free Mathematics Resources


Department of Energy STEM Internships and Fellowships

Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI)

Minority Serving Institutions Partnership Program (MSIPP)

Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship Program (MLEF)

Minority Access, Incorporated

Organizations and Institutions:

National Society of Black Engineers

Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science

American Chemical Society

Organizations and Institutions Supporting the Advancement and Training of Minorities in Mathematical Sciences

American Physical Society

American Meteorological Society

VSU Support:

For help reviewing your resume or interview tips, contact Contact Career Services.

For help with posters and presentations, contact the Library's Media Center Department.

For bibliographic research and library questions, contact the Library.

For the Office of Institutional Research, click here.

For Grants and Contracts, visit the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research Administration.

For information about research compliance, contact the Institutional Review Board.

For travel procedures, visit Financial Services.

For the Office of Strategic Communications, click here.

For the Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, visit CELT.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number (1817519).

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.