News & Stories

July 10, 2020

Berry College Professor Awarded National Science Foundation Grant

Berry College Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science Jill Cochran has been selected to participate in a National Science Foundation grant of approximately $1 million over five years that will support the advancement of mid-career STEM women faculty.

Led by Professor Sarah Kirk of Willamette University, the Advancing STEM Careers by Empowering Network Development (ASCEND) collaboration involves six partner institutions and up to 75 participants from colleges and universities across three regions – the northwest, the midwest and the southeast.

The focus of the project is twofold—to give individual faculty members the tools they need to advance their careers while also addressing the institutional and systemic barriers which prevent women at the mid-career level from being promoted to full professor or obtaining positions in academic administration.

“Unfortunately, women in STEM still face significant career inequities,” states Kirk. “We look forward to creating strong mentoring opportunities for others while working on larger systemic change.”

The project team will create three regional peer mentoring networks. Participants will be provided with networking and collaboration opportunities, education, training resources, and professional support.

Faculty and administrators will work to design and implement comprehensive campus-specific change plans that reduce barriers encountered by women in STEM, create more equitable communities, and foster the retention and advancement of a diverse STEM faculty population.

Cochran earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education at Texas State University. She is a strong advocate for mathematics education at all levels, often involving her students in research projects and offering professional development opportunities for local teachers. Under her leadership, the STEMTeach program at Berry was developed as an apprenticeship program for undergraduate pre-service math and science teachers as well as collaborative professional development with mentor teachers. Cochran secured funding for this program through an NSF Noyce grant in 2018.


For more information about the STEMTeach program:

For more information about the ASCEND program:


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