The National Science Foundation

Award Date: February 2014

Summary

Union College has been awarded a grant (DUE-1356398) from the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program which will support scholars majoring in STEM disciplines. The project "SUCCESS: Stimulating Undergraduates: Creating Contributors in Engineering and Science for Society" will be led by Principal Investigator and project director JOANNE KEHLBECK, associate professor of chemistry, with co-PIs and Cohort Mentors SAMUEL AMANUEL, associate professor of physics & astronomy, PALMYRA CATRAVAS, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, REBECCA CORTEZ, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and SCOTT KIRKTON, associate professor of biological sciences.  Program assessment and evaluation will be conducted by GEORGE BIZER, professor of psychology.

The NSF S-STEM program provides institutions with funds for student scholarships to encourage and enable academically talented students demonstrating financial need to enter the STEM workforce or STEM graduate school following completion of an associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degree in fields of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.  The S-STEM program emphasizes the importance of recruiting students to STEM disciplines, mentoring and supporting students through degree completion, and partnering with employers to facilitate student career placement in the STEM workforce.

Abstract

The Union College SUCCESS Scholars program is further broadening Union's inclusive recruiting strategy by building relationships with small, rural under-resourced public high schools in order to attract and retain talented students to STEM fields. SUCCESS scholars are selected from all science and engineering disciplines, with four-year scholarship support for two cohorts of ten students. The project is helping participants achieve success by meeting the educational and financial needs unique to their situations and backgrounds. The overall goals of the project are to: 1) increase the number of applications and admissions of academically-talented students from under-resourced rural high schools; 2) improve retention and success of these students in STEM fields at Union by specifically addressing the challenges faced by students from small, rural high schools with limited academic opportunities; 3) increase the number of women in engineering, physics, mathematics and computer science, and underrepresented groups in all disciplines; 4) provide students with opportunities to enhance their education through early introduction to research opportunities, internships, study abroad, and leadership training; and 5) improve recruiting and undergraduate educational experiences and promote professional advancement by facilitating fruitful mentoring relationships. Intellectual merits of the project are reflected in the comprehensive nature of the program specifically targeting under-resourced rural high schools. Broader impacts are two-fold: (1) The SUCCESS Scholars program is designed to produce talented, energetic STEM professionals from diverse backgrounds and the approach will be transferable to educational institutions across the country. (2) SUCCESS scholars trained as leaders and capable of propagating transformative mentoring skills will positively impact this nation's workforce.