MemphiSTEP: A STEM Talent Expansion Program at the University of Memphis

David J Russomanno, Rachel Best, Stephanie Ivey, John R Haddock, Don Franceschetti, Regina J Hairston

Abstract


MemphiSTEP is a five-year STEM Talent Expansion Program at the U. of Memphis sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The project focuses on retention and persistence to graduation to increase the number of STEM majors and graduates. The project includes a summer Mathematics Bridge Bootcamp; research experiences for undergraduates; peer-student and faculty-student mentoring; grants for student professional organizations; STEM learning communities; and a faculty seminar on pedagogical approaches to STEM education. Although the project concentrates on all STEM areas across the campus and each year of a students undergraduate career, mathematics used in science and engineering is a focal point in many of the projects strategies and activities. The assessment results for the first summer Mathematics Bootcamp are presented in detail and lessons learned during year one for other components of the project are discussed. Results show that the Bootcamp was effective in fostering mathematics skills, increasing students awareness of/interest in STEM courses and careers, and facilitating networking opportunities, such that STEM students may work collaboratively with peers and faculty members. Overall, the paper intends to highlight program activities designed to foster retention and graduation, as well as the successes and lessons learned from year one program activities employed by MemphiSTEP.

Keywords


STEM talent expansion

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JSTEM. ISSN: 1557-5284