AIMS Program at Murray State Transforms Students into STEM Superheroes

By: Rosemary Fama

For five weeks this summer, Batgirl and her team of Caped-Crusaders welcomed over 100 high school students to participate in a superhero-themed math and science program on the campus of Murray State University. Behind the mask is KGSC Regional Leader, Dr. Doris Clark-Sarr, Director of the Murray State Adventures in Math and Science (AIMS) program, a federally funded college preparatory program designed to help under-served students recognize and develop their potential to excel in math and science.

The Summer Component of the AIMS program offers five weeks of accelerated courses and hands-on workshops intended to strengthen math, science, critical and analytical skills. High achieving high school seniors have the opportunity to earn college credit for those courses through the Bridge Component, a program designed to facilitate the transition from high school to college. To close out the summer session, AIMS students and staff went on a ten day road trip that boasted an itinerary featuring visits to regional college campuses and national landmarks.

Funded through two Upward Bound Math and Science Grants from the US Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs Division, Murray State AIMS recruits approximately 126 underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation students from the surrounding area to participate in the yearlong program. During the Academic Year Component, AIMS helps students prepare for future educational goals through tutoring, workshops, research competitions and community service.

AIMS recognizes the value of Service Learning and this year Clark-Sarr and staff will lead students through three service projects. From their computers, AIMS students will be able to build new voices or contribute their own to the Human Voicebank, an online cache of synthetic voices used to humanize assistive speech output technology. As part of the Kentucky Global Competency Program, students in the AIMS Program will have the opportunity to become “Study Buddies” with students from the Grace English School in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Closer to home, AIMS students will assist former AIMS Coordinator, Cherie Timberlake, find a kidney donor by organizing and hosting local donor drives. Murray State AIMS believes teaching students to give back by donating time, skills and energy is essential to the successful growth and maturation of young adults.

More information about the Murray State AIMS program, including how to apply, can be found at :

Doris Clark-Sarr

More information about the Federal TRIO Programs found at:

Reach Dr. Clark-Sarr at

If you are interested in being a donor for Cherie Timberlake, please contact: Melissa Moore, Transplant Coordinator at the University of Tennessee Methodist Hospital Transplant Center at (901) 516-8466.

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