The National Science Foundation has awarded Fresno Pacific University (FPU) a Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program grant of $605,631. FPU will use S-STEM Program funding to enhance its partnership with College of the Sequoias (COS) and provide scholarships and support services to academically talented, financially needy community college students transferring to FPU’s math, biology, chemistry, or environmental science program.
Over the five-year grant period, FPU will recruit four cohorts of academically talented and financially needy community college transfer students (30 students total) who have obtained an associate’s degree or have completed at least 60 community college credits. These students will be provided with scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per year. In order to ensure students excel in FPU STEM degree programs and obtain a bachelor’s degree within two years of transfer, a percentage of S-STEM funds will be used to enhance a number of existing FPU student support services and services initiated through FPU-COS collaboration on a Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions grant program targeting STEM transfer students. These enhancements include the formation of S-STEM cohorts, 2-Year Graduation Guarantees for S-STEM scholars, S-STEM seminars, robust STEM faculty-student mentoring, upper-division STEM tutoring, STEM retention strategies, and supplemental instruction. In order to better prepare STEM students for the workforce and graduate programs, S-STEM funding will also be used to provide key support services and activities, including one-on-one STEM career counseling, GRE preparation, job shadowing at local STEM businesses, internship and research opportunities, field trips to STEM businesses and graduate schools, and workshops with STEM industry experts.
In addition to directly benefiting low-income STEM students over the grant period, the FPU S-STEM Program will benefit the Central Valley long after federal funding expires by increasing the number of STEM graduates from populations traditionally underrepresented in STEM (e.g., socioeconomically disadvantaged students, first-generation college students, and Hispanic students), which will increase the number of STEM role models in the Central Valley for younger members of these groups. In addition, the S-STEM Program will enable FPU to continue to develop, apply, evaluate, and advance theories and practices that increase transfer student success among groups that have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM.