Sederick C. Rice, assistant professor of biology at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, recently received a grant to upgrade a 3-D lab and was named a STEM director by an Arkansas program.

3-D Lab

Rice recently received a $265,000 grant from the National Science Foundation’s Major Research Instrumentation Program to upgrade the Immersive 3-D Visualization, Teaching, Research, and Outreach Laboratory, known as the Lion CAVE.

“The Lion CAVE 2.0 project will extend UAPB’s focus on how instructors teach and students learn STEAM Content at our university and throughout the Arkansas Delta,” Rice said in a news release. “We are excited to have an opportunity to purchase cutting edge equipment through the grant that will be available for use by faculty, staff, students and K-12 teachers. Our ultimate goal is to be in a better position to train the next generation of innovators, critical thinkers and STEAM professionals.”

The Lion CAVE 2.0 project is located in Rust Technology Hall. Research generated from the project aims to highlight data on how K-16 teachers teach and students learn STEAM content using enhanced virtual reality equipment.

STEM director

Rice has accepted a position as one of the Arkansas Network of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) Center Directors and will serve in this capacity at UAPB’s Math and Science Pre-College Center, he said in a news release.

The Arkansas Network of STEM Centers serve to enrich the knowledge and teaching practices of teachers in STEM by linking institutions of higher education to K-12 public schools, educational service cooperatives and businesses, and provide services and resources for teachers, administrators and students.

“The greater goal is to keep the public informed on current and evolving trends in STEM education statewide and nationally,” he said.

Rice will work with Stephanie Carlton (science specialist) and Celeste Alexander (math specialist) to serve area schools that include Dollarway, Humphrey, Pine Bluff, Sheridan, Stuttgart, Watson Chapel, and White Hall.

UAPB’s STEM Center team will also work with pre-service teachers at UAPB and STEM organizations in community to provide professional development for K-12 teachers.

“I am excited and motivated to work as one of the Arkansas STEM Center Directors and support student-focused teaching and learning within our partnership school districts. Targeted professional development for K-12 teachers, based on Arkansas Teaching Standards, is so important. I look forward to sharing STEM classroom and laboratory resources with educators to help enrich the learning process and help students become more proficient problem-solvers and critical thinkers.”