Mary Lou Ewald

A message from the Director of COSAM Outreach

Mary Lou Ewald

The past year has been one of changes and abundant opportunities for the COSAM Office of Outreach. Kathy Feminella, our administrative assistant, retired after 10 years of service at Auburn. Though we were sad to see Kathy leave, we were fortunate to welcome Kristen Bond to the Outreach team. Kristen brings years of experience in program and event management and has quickly integrated into the COSAM family.

In Outreach, we continuously evaluate and assess our existing programs while also creating new programs for specific target audiences. In the past year, we piloted five new science and math outreach initiatives, including:

TASSAL (The Alabama STEM Studio for Afterschool Learning)

Through a multi-year partnership with the Truman Pierce Institute based in the Auburn University College of Education, COSAM Outreach is providing science and engineering training and resources for afterschool educators across the state.

Kidz-Sized Science

This community program met once a month during the academic year and provided discovery-based learning opportunities for pre-school students.

AMP’d High School Challenge

The Auburn Mathematical Puzzle Challenge, or “AMP’d,” draws on the creative talents of a group of Auburn-based mathematicians and math graduate students who are quite masterful at developing complex logic-based puzzles that engage students in a much different way than a traditional paper-and-pencil math competition. The one-day, team- based challenge had high school students running around campus as they used their collective brainpower to solve a series of math puzzles centered on science themes.

Robotics and Engineering Education (RE2) Initiative

Researchers from the College of Sciences and Mathematics, the College of Education, the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, and Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI) received a $230,500 grant from the Alabama State Department of Education to embark on a three-year initiative to provide professional development for teachers and engage students in project-based science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The grant supports professional development opportunities for 176 Alabama middle school science and math teachers. Members of the team from COSAM include Allen Landers (Physics), Mary Lou Ewald (Outreach), Erin Percival (Outreach), and Beth Hickman (AMSTI).

AU Summer Science Institute (SSI)

SSI is a weeklong summer residential science program for high-achieving students with an aptitude and interest in the fields of science and math. Approximately 24 rising high school juniors and seniors are chosen to participate in the free program through a competitive application process. Students interact with more than 20 COSAM faculty to explore topics more advanced than what is typically taught in a public or private high school environment.

As our program offerings continue to grow, I am pleased to report that an increasing number of COSAM faculty are enthusiastically interested in connecting to the public through our programs and sharing their passion for science and mathematics. This year’s outreach focus story on Allen Landers and the SSI program is a perfect example of the impact faculty can make on inspiring and preparing the next generation of scientists.

For more information on these, and other programs offered by COSAM Outreach, go to, or email me at We’d love to hear from you and hope to see you at a program this year.

Mary Lou Ewald
Director of COSAM Office of Outreach