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Southern Research’s STEM Education Outreach program is involved in a wide variety of programs that impact students and teachers in Alabama. The mission of SR’s STEM program is to enhance 6th – 12th grade STEM education by drawing upon the expertise and scholarly contributions of the Southern Research community. We aim to define and exemplify effective STEM education to maximize students’ readiness to excel in a rapidly changing world. We are working to achieve our education mission by engaging students and teachers in STEM activities through summer learning programs, field trips, after-school programing, STEM competitions and science fairs, internships, and professional development workshops for STEM educators. Our primary objective is to embolden students who possess a passion for innovation and discovery to pursue their interests and strengthen the STEM community. Southern Research is committed to fostering creativity and impacting the future generation.

Meet Our Staff

Kathryn Lanier, Ph.D. | STEM Education Outreach Director

Kathryn Lanier, Ph.D., joined Southern Research in 2017 as the first STEM Education Outreach Director. In this role, she is responsible for directing a statewide program that aims to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and engineering, in addition to training teachers involved in these fields. In addition to her role at Southern Research, Dr. Lanier was appointed by Governor Kay Ivey to represent Alabama's 6th congressional district on the Mathematics Course of Study Committee and Alabama's 7th congressional district on the Career Technical Education Course of Study Committee. Dr. Lanier also serves on the Governor's Advisory Council for Excellence in STEM. Prior to Southern Research, Dr. Lanier received her Ph.D. in chemistry from Georgia Tech, where she worked the laboratory of Dr. Loren Williams as part of the NASA Center for the Origin of Life. Dr. Lanier received the Georgia Tech Presidential Fellowship, an award allocated to the top 5% of each doctoral class for all four years of her doctoral studies. She was also a Molecular Biophysics and Biotechnology fellow for three years. In 2018, Kathryn was selected as one of Georgia Southern University's Top 40 under 40. In 2020, Kathryn was named as part of Georgia Tech's inaugural 40 Under 40 class.

Liz Johnson, Ph.D. | STEM Education Specialist

Liz Johnson, Ph.D., joined Southern Research’s STEM Education Outreach team in the fall of 2018 as the STEM Education Specialist. She is responsible for developing and implementing educational programming to engage and motivate Alabama’s youth to pursue professions in science, technology, engineering, and math. Additionally, she will provide educational training in these fields for teachers to utilize in their classrooms. During her graduate school career, Dr. Johnson mentored over forty undergraduates in independent scientific research and developed and taught various biology labs and courses over the past seven years. She also worked with K-12 students through various STEM outreach activities hosted by the University of Alabama, including events like Science on the Quad and Night at the Museum. Johnson earned both her doctorate in biology and Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Alabama. She is also a Birmingham native and a former student of both Hoover City Schools and Shelby County Schools.