Planning Pathways to a Diverse Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce in Northeastern and South-Central Pennsylvania

Project: Research project

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 at Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Harrisburg Area Community College, and Luzerne County Community College. In addition to these four institutions, a wide range of academic, industry, and economic and workforce economic development partners serving the region will be engaged in this planning project. This collaborative planning project will develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pathways for workers and students from eleven high-need and minority serving Pennsylvania school districts to access educational programs and services that prepare them for successful STEM careers. The targeted high-growth corridor has seen significant increases in technology industry development over the past decade, including in areas of high national need such as logistics, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, and others. The planning activities will lead to low-income student supports and seamless pathways and transitions across the (1) associate-to bachelor’s levels in engineering technology, engineering, computer science, information technologies, biology, chemistry, and mathematics, and (2) bachelor’s-to-graduate level in engineering, computer science, and information technology. Another novel element of the project is entrepreneurship training to help prepare all STEM students to participate in the innovation economy. The overall goal of this planning project is to establish a multi-institution collaborative partnership to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need. Specifically, this project aims to advance understanding of the resources needed by students, families, communities, and institutions to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of low-income students from STEM programs by (1) conducting institutional and community needs assessments to inform programming and research, (2) strengthening formal relationships and articulating agreements across participating institutions to facilitate pathways, (3) identifying culturally responsive recruitment and retention strategies, (4) involving industry and economic development partners to build relationships with prospective employers, and (5) incorporating techno-entrepreneurship programming in the targeted STEM pathways to provide diversity in post-graduation opportunity. Completion of this project will result in the development of a strategic plan to assist low-income students in entering and completing STEM education programs. 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 date3/15/242/28/25


  • National Science Foundation: $100,000.00


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