P120A190038: Program of Excellence in STEM-Enrichment

(PE-STEM-Enrichment)

Overview

Though the population of underrepresented minorities and women is increasing each year, African American and Hispanic workers continue to be underrepresented in the STEM workforce. African Americans make up 11% of the U.S. workforce overall, but represent only 9% of STEM workers; while Hispanics comprise 16% of the U.S. workforce, but only 7% of all STEM workers (Funk and Parker, 2018). This has been linked to several factors, including 1) lack of interest in such fields; 2) lack of adequate preparation and skills needed to succeed in these areas; and 3) lack of encouragement to pursue careers in these fields. For many of these students, neglect, discrimination, and even lack of exposure and attention at early grades has essentially robbed them of their ability to even consider such careers.  Despite these challenges, it is important to note that the need to increase the participation among underrepresented groups – women and minorities – in STEM areas is vital to provide a diverse and more robust science production force, thereby stimulating more creativity and innovation via new perspectives, research, and applications (BEST, 2004). Additionally, teacher diversity in STEM-related areas has been elusive over the past 30 years. 

The PE-STEM Enrichment Program works to address these negative trends in STEM fields by targeting rising 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders who belong to groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields attending FAMU. The project serves to improve the exposure to material generally seen in the first two years of STEM majors in college, thereby increasing their retention and success in these foundation courses which lead to success in later applied coursework within STEM. This exposure can demystify the coursework and preparation many young people, especially those of underrepresented groups, have built up in their minds as a barrier towards STEM disciplines, and increase interest and reduce anxiety of the students towards STEM foundation courses. Additionally, the program allows for students to get more “hands on” learning with mentoring while working on real STEM projects relative to their fields of interest. The PE-STEM-Enrichment Program includes a prominent summer component, in addition to the year-round activities, that aligns itself to benefit the needs of underrepresented groups as stated in the literature.

Methodology

The overall goal of the PE-STEM_Enrichment Program is to provide a structured model for increasing the recruitment, retention and graduation of FAMU’s STEM majors, through concentrated mentoring, advisement, and professional and research development of participants. The approach is to focus the intervention on students during their high school years prior to their enrollment at FAMU or other university while majoring in STEM fields.  PE-STEM-Enrichment seeks to increase the number of students from groups traditionally underrepresented in the STEM disciplines that seek and successfully graduate in these areas. This exposure is centered on participation in hands-on, stimulating activities to inspire them to seek participation in STEM fields in their future education and career goals, while additionally motivating them to succeed in math and science courses in their present studies. Positive early exposure to these fields has been shown to lead to greater success in matriculation in science and math, and eventually to increased selection of and graduation from these STEM areas (Slovacek et al., 2011).

This overall goal will be accomplished by the following structured 3-tiered approach:
Recruitment:

  • Improving the preparation of area high school students to succeed in foundational coursework relating to STEM areas of study;

  • Providing directed laboratory research experiences prior to FAMU enrollment through the Summer STEM Enrichment Academy and year round activities; and

  • Exposing students to opportunities and careers in the STEM disciplines through tours and guest lecturers.

Retention:

  • Establishing a student cohort in the STEM disciplines, that can be advised and guided successfully towards the college curriculum in these areas;

  • Involving K-12 and FAMU students in monthly workshops designed to strengthen student research and professional development;

  • Involving students with qualified and motivated mentorship from STEM faculty, graduate and undergraduate students; and

  • Providing tutoring in challenging subjects to help support successful matriculation through STEM majors throughout the school year.

Graduation:

  • Providing students with opportunities to participate in research that can be used to
    enhance their college portfolio;

  • Assisting students in strengthening their presentation development ability, public speaking, and other professional development skills through program activities; and

  • Utilizing professional connections through Enrichment Program faculty mentors to
    connect former students with graduate fellowship and scholarship opportunities, as well as career placement.

These broad initiatives can be mapped to the following Program Objectives:

  • Increase the number of underrepresented K-12 students that enroll in STEM disciplines in college, especially at FAMU;

  • Increase the GPAs of these entering STEM students in foundational courses (Calculus, Chemistry, Biology, Intro to Engineering, Physics, and Intro to Programming) prior to their enrollment, through summer preparatory courses, program workshops, and academic research opportunities;

  • Increase the retention of these students within STEM disciplines through advisement, mentoring, and research opportunities;

  • Increase the number of these undergraduates conducting, reporting, and presenting on research within STEM disciplines;

  • Increase the number of STEM faculty involved in mentoring students involved in undergraduate research; and

  • Increase the number of high school STEM instructors who have been trained and can effectively teach STEM-related courses to potential STEM students

 

Program Highlights (to date)​
  • TBA

  • Oluwanifemi Adebulugbe
  • Gbemisola Akinbi
  • Terrence Bazzell
  • Jada Black
  • Aaliyah Brown
  • Shederic Bryant, Jr
  • Nathaniel Carnegie
  • Stephanie Colter
  • Brooke Demps
  • Kayley Farmer
  • Ja'Kala Fudge
  • Alyssa Goldman
  • Marhee Green
  • MyAja Gurley
  • Oladipo Jegede
  • Cheyenne Martin
  • Nana Ama Marfo
  • Joanna McIntosh
  • Dorian Moore
  • Lucy Musakali
  • Shatoria Poole
  • Jalil Reed
  • Symone Robinson
  • Victoria Smith
  • Frederic Triplett
  • Willie Wells

2020-2021 Mentors:

2020-2021 Participants:

  • TBA
 
 
 
 
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