NSF Grant Puts S-STEM Students on Transfer Pathways
Sixteen student scholars and eight faculty advisors make up the current S-Stem Cohort. This cohort is made possible by a grant of $850,000 awarded to Minneapolis College from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholastic and career opportunities for talented, low-income students.
Minneapolis College is in the third year of this initiative, which includes collaboration with other Higher Ed institutions. The project, “Collaborative Research: Partnership Pathways to Improve the Professional Preparation of Low-Income Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in Minnesota,” at Minneapolis College is led by Director/Principal Investigator (PI), Renu Kumar, Ph.D. (Biology Faculty Member) with support from Co-PI, Carmen Buhler (Math Faculty Member).
“This collaborative project contributes to a national commitment to advance well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians. Undergraduate research and internship experiences provided in Transfer Pathways support professional development through cross-institutional partnerships and workforce development programs,” explained Program Director Renu Bhagat Kumar, Ph.D.
In addition to the financial support of $3,750 per semester, students participating in the initiative receive support from faculty mentors, academic advisors and are exposed to deeper knowledge of STEM fields, undergraduate research, and internship opportunities. Minneapolis College team members (PI Kumar, co-PI Buhler, faculty mentors and academic advisors) with support of Dean Weng developed a framework to support student scholars by engaging them in STEM related activities that moves them from mentoring to advising to facilitate transfer process.
Collaborations with other PRISM (Partner Relationships to Increase STEM Momentum) institutions (Augsburg University, Normandale and Century College) resulted in improved transfer opportunities to bachelor’s degree programs.
“Scholars in the NSF STEM scholarship blossom as they begin to see themselves in a STEM field career. Besides receiving money, each scholar is paired with a faculty mentor and is encouraged by their cohort and STEM meetings. They also can participate in undergraduate internships.,” said co-PI Carmen Buhler.
To date, 50 STEM student scholars have participated in the program at Minneapolis College. This semester there are seven new students in the program.