Project Details


This project will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need. Over its five-year duration, this project will provide four-year scholarships to 40 students and three-year scholarships to 20 students. This funding will support students' pursuit of B.S. degrees in natural and physical sciences, computer science, engineering, engineering technology, and mathematics. This project aims to improve retention and graduation rates of students in these STEM fields by revising introductory mathematics courses, providing access to a living learning community and mentoring, and providing multi-year support for goal setting and career planning. The project also seeks to generate new knowledge regarding strategies the promote STEM students' academic achievement, resilience, and mindset.

The overall goal of this project is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. It seeks to assist students throughout their college-to-career trajectory. Initially, the project aims to provide accurate placement into introductory mathematics courses that are to be redesigned to promote a growth mindset. Project activities are informed by social cognitive career theory and include career-focused seminars, a course in leadership development, and annual reflection on and revision of personal and career goals. The project also seeks to draw upon a large alumni network of STEM professionals and an existing pool of undergraduate STEM leaders to create a structured mentoring program aligned with a growth mindset approach. The knowledge generation component of the project involves a quasi-experimental longitudinal research design to investigate links between key outcomes (academic achievement, persistence in STEM major, growth mindset, resilience, self-efficacy and sense of belonging) and participation in program elements. Data will be collected via surveys, focus groups, and institutional records. The project specifically acknowledges the pivotal role of mathematics in the STEM curriculum and aims to examine mathematical resilience and mathematics self-efficacy in the context of the revised mathematics courses. Project evaluation will provide formative feedback and summative assessment via tracking the degree to which the project activities are implemented according to plan and benchmarks for recruiting and retention are reached. The evaluation will also provide independent oversight for the research study. This project is funded by NSF's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program, which seeks to increase the number of low-income academically talented students with demonstrated financial need who earn degrees in STEM fields. It also aims to improve the education of future STEM workers, and to generate knowledge about academic success, retention, transfer, graduation, and academic/career pathways of low-income students.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Effective start/end date1/1/2012/31/24


  • National Science Foundation: $1,000,000.00


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