Jenifer Utz (Life Sciences) has been awarded $649,407 from the National Science Foundation Division of Undergraduate Education for a project titled "Developing the Skill and Will to Succeed in STEM." Katie Rafferty, Christy Strong, Donald Price (all Life Sciences), and Matt Bernacki (Educational Psychology and Higher Education) are Co-PIs.
The new program provides three years of scholarship support to a total of 25 academically talented undergraduate biology majors with documented financial need. A primary goal is to diversify and increase the number of students entering STEM professions. In addition to scholarship support, a number of curricular and co-curricular enhancements will be put into effect to increase achievement and career readiness of program participants.
The introductory biology lecture series will be enriched by inclusion of active learning experiences that will promote student engagement and persistence for all biology majors. A prediction model that analyzes student use of digital learning resources also will be incorporated into the introductory courses. This model will facilitate early identification of students at risk to earn poor course grades, allowing redirection toward more effective learning strategies. Scholarship recipients will attend a STEM career seminar series and will participate in pursuing undergraduate research and STEM internship opportunities.