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Board 92: Scholarships Advancing STEM Students

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


James E. Maccariella Jr. Mercer County Community College

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Dr. James Maccariella is a Professor of Engineering at Mercer County Community College, where he serves as the Coordinator of the Engineering Science and Civil Engineering Technology programs, as well as the Chair of the Engineering and Technology Department. He is a graduate of Drexel University, where he earned a B.S. in Architectural Engineering, a B.S. in Civil Engineering, and a M.S. in Civil Engineering. In addition, he earned his Ph.D. from Old Dominion University. He is a Licensed Professional Engineer in NJ, NY, and PA with over 25 years of design experience. He is the PI of the NSF S-STEM program "Scholarships Advancing Mercer STEM Students (SAMS)" and well as the PI for two Innovation Grants: "Transforming Engineering Access for Mercer Students (TEAMS)," and "Engineering TLC- Tutors and Learning Communities."

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Laura Blinderman Mercer County Community College

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Laura Blinderman is a Professor of Biology at Mercer County Community College. She received her MS degree in from San Diego State University where she studied molecular evolution. She has served as Science department Chair since 2016 and is a co-PI on a Robert Noyce grant to increase STEM educators in middle and high schools.

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Helen Tanzini Mercer County Community Cillege

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Helen Tanzini is a Professor of Chemistry at Mercer County Community College, where she has been teaching Organic Chemistry for 20 years and serves as the Coordinator of the Chemistry program. She is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she earned a B.S. and M.S. in Chemistry. She is a Co-PI of the NSF S-STEM program "Scholarships Advancing Mercer STEM Students (SAMS)". She was a Co-Pi on the NMR Collaborative Training Partnership (NSF Grant # 9952369) and the PI on the Keeping Science At The Forefront, PSE&G Neighborhood Partner Funding Program. She is very active in the American Chemical Society (ACS) and coordinates the Trenton section of the ACS outreach programs.

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Richard Porter Mercer County Community College

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A graduate of Rutgers University in Mathematics and Chemistry. Worked in pharmaceutical industry as a computer programmer for several years. Teaching predominantly calculus and foundations mathematics since 1994. Enjoy current technology and "real life" applications of mathematics. Involved in several academic clubs, organizations, societies, and Mercer's Honors Program. Currently a caregiver, avid gardener, and horticultural volunteer.

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National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)

Scholarships Advancing STEM Students

This program provides up to 120 scholarships for academically talented full-time STEM students who have a demonstrated financial need. The program allows students to successfully graduate and/or transfer to a 4-year institution in a STEM field. The program has a five-year duration, and is now beginning its third year. The objectives of the program are to: 1) retain at least 75% of the scholars for the duration of the grant; 2) have 50% of the scholars be underrepresented minorities (URMs) or women in STEM disciplines; 3) have the scholars be enrolled full-time and participate in intervention and advising programs as a cohort; and 4) have 75% of the scholars successfully graduate or transfer in the field of STEM.

The major activities of the program include attendance at meetings/conferences, seminars, community building, career counseling, and mentoring. In addition, recruitment and retention activities include: a high school summer bridge program, weekly cohort meetings focusing on college success and transfer strategies, and peer-tutoring. The project is designed as a two-year selective program for a cohort of students featuring nationally recognized strategies to promote STEM success. Low-income minority students and veterans are a focus for the STEM scholarship program.

Program results to date have met the desired objectives. Year 1 resulted in 90% retention, 71% URMs or women, 90% participation in intervention and advising, and 87% graduation/transfer. Student feedback for year 1 found favorable results for engagement and motivation, and access to study groups. While most students also reported favorable perceptions of student relationships, confidence, and access to mentors, approximately eight percent reported unfavorable perceptions in these areas for year 1.

Year 2 resulted in 95% retention, 50% URMs or women, 90% participation in interventions and advising, and 75% graduation/transfer. Student feedback for year 2 found favorable results for student relationships, engagement and motivation, access to study groups, and confidence. In addition, most students reported favorable perceptions of access to mentors, while eight percent reported unfavorable perceptions in this area. It is noted that student perceptions improved from year 1 to year 2, particularly in the student relationships, and confidence perceptions. Thus, the program’s formative assessments seem to be working.

The project team looks forward to building on the program’s early success, and seeks to engage and motivate talented students to graduate or transfer in STEM fields.

Maccariella, J. E., & Blinderman, L., & Tanzini, H., & Porter, R. (2018, June), Board 92: Scholarships Advancing STEM Students Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30138

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