The Efficacy of a Student Organization for STEM Students

  • Mara S. Aruguete
  • Sekela R. Mwaikinda
Keywords: STEM education, continuing-generation students, first-generation students, intervention, social support, academic support.


Our study tests the effectiveness of STEM Alliance, a student organization aimed at increasing academic and social support for students pursuing STEM majors. STEM Alliance offered weekly, extracurricular activities aimed at preparing students for graduate school and STEM careers. We compared self-reported support among students who attended STEM Alliance events and those who did not attend. Students attending STEM Alliance events showed greater academic and social support, greater confidence in the institutional environment, and increased contact with faculty. First-generation students showed significant benefits of participation in STEM Alliance; however, continuing-generation students reported greater student-faculty contact. Although our quasi-experimental design cannot indisputably show a cause-and-effect relationship, our research strongly suggests that STEM Alliance represents a promising, inexpensive method of increasing support for students pursuing STEM degrees.