1. John Kaup
  2. Director of Science Education
  3. Scholarships and Science Opportunities, Activities, and Research to Support Undergraduate STEM Student Success
  4. https://www.furman.edu/integrative-research/scholarships/#:~:text=The%20Furman%20STEM%20Scholars%20program,discipline%2C%20demonstrate%20academic%20merit%20and
  5. Furman University
  1. Benjamin Haywood
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/in/benjaminkhaywood/
  3. Associate Director, Faculty Development Center
  4. Scholarships and Science Opportunities, Activities, and Research to Support Undergraduate STEM Student Success
  5. https://www.furman.edu/integrative-research/scholarships/#:~:text=The%20Furman%20STEM%20Scholars%20program,discipline%2C%20demonstrate%20academic%20merit%20and
  6. Furman University
  1. Michelle Horhota
  2. Associate Dean for Mentoring and Advising; Professor of Psychology
  3. Scholarships and Science Opportunities, Activities, and Research to Support Undergraduate STEM Student Success
  4. https://www.furman.edu/integrative-research/scholarships/#:~:text=The%20Furman%20STEM%20Scholars%20program,discipline%2C%20demonstrate%20academic%20merit%20and
  5. Furman University
  1. John Wheeler
  2. Associate Provost for Integrative Science
  3. Scholarships and Science Opportunities, Activities, and Research to Support Undergraduate STEM Student Success
  4. https://www.furman.edu/integrative-research/scholarships/#:~:text=The%20Furman%20STEM%20Scholars%20program,discipline%2C%20demonstrate%20academic%20merit%20and
  5. Furman University
Public Discussion

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  • Icon for: John Kaup

    John Kaup

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Science Education
    May 9, 2022 | 02:23 p.m.

    Thank you for taking time to watch our video!  We have just completed our first year of the Furman University NSF S-STEM Track 2 STEM Scholars program and we are excited to share a brief review of the main elements of the program alongside reflections about the first year from our inaugural cohort of students. 

     

    Enhancing belonging (in college and STEM fields), strengthening agency to pursue help-seeking behaviors (empowerment), and increasing a sense of flourishing are key objectives of our program, and we look forward to discussion around these themes. How are you providing mechanisms to support similar objectives, what is working, and how are you measuring impacts?

     
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    Kelly Greene
  • Icon for: Eyualem Abebe

    Eyualem Abebe

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 10, 2022 | 08:36 a.m.

    It appears you have found what works for your school. I am wondering - what was the size of the cohort and what was the duration ofthe transition program? Were mentees financially compensated during the academic year for being in the program? What is the general background of the cohort, how different was the cohort group from the general student population? Apart from these success, what is the quantitative difference in terms of grade, GPA between the participants and non-participants? Thanks I am trying to learn more so that I can compare some of the specific work you gusy are doing with our similar program.

  • Icon for: John Kaup

    John Kaup

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Science Education
    May 10, 2022 | 05:03 p.m.

    Thanks for your interest.  We will have two cohorts of 12 (one entered Fall 2021 and one entering fall 2022) and the transition program which we call SAFE Passage was an 8 day program in the summer.  This is funded through a Track 2 NSF S-STEM award so participants (STEM Scholars) are provided up to $10k/year for up to four years.  As per our proposal, all students are Pell eligible so one significant difference between the cohort and the general student population would be socioeconomic.  Not sure of exact number but I think under 10% of students here are Pell eligible.  

     
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    Kelly Greene
  • Icon for: Kelly Greene

    Kelly Greene

    Chief Operations Officer
    May 12, 2022 | 03:18 p.m.

    We could collaborate and have your STEM Scholars participate as mentors to our CSOs! Let's connect. 

    KGreene@SciTechInstitute.org

  • May 9, 2022 | 09:24 p.m.

    Terrific program, John! It seems that ours shares some goals such as fostering belonging and community. In our program mentors are key for students to feel they can seek help and open up to them. Weekly meetings of 30 min is what we recommend, but mentor-mentee can adjust that their needs. We have seen challenges these past two years in our students and the mentors have been a rock for some of them. When we feel the students need help beyond what we can provide, we refer them to counseling and psychological services at the university. 

    Also, "going places" together, that being a site visit to a company or a graduate school program (which for us typically translates in a 2 hour drive in a van or two :)) or a weekend retreat, like the one we did for the first time (since the pandemic started) this spring. That was a great opportunity to bond, no just between scholars, but with some mentors who joined us, and even a few alumni from a track 1 previous program.

    As for belonging to STEM, we use strategies that develop science identity (doing research, going and presenting at conferences, attending panels of STEM professionals, and graduate school students and administrators, etc. Having panels of students that look like them has been hugely successful in getting our scholars to believe they can do this.

    Cheers!

    Marisol

     
  • May 9, 2022 | 09:49 p.m.

    This is great! This is very similar to a program I have where STEM students have a mentor-mentee relationship. They provide support for each other. I look at impact on both mentor and mentee through evaluation questionnaires and interviews. I provide this support on a different grant that I will showcase next year. This mentor-mentee support is provided in their introductory biology courses, which is often a weed out course. 

     
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    Kelly Greene
  • Icon for: Stephen Alkins Ph.D.

    Stephen Alkins Ph.D.

    Facilitator
    Diversity, Equity, Access, Inclusion, and Belonging Officer
    May 10, 2022 | 09:37 a.m.

    Programs like these are necessary and should be normalized in STEM.  Often times (I would like to research this, also) I find that students, particularly those from underrepresented groups, approach STEM in such individualized fashions (studying, projects, papers, etc.), which is not conducive to success.  The breadth and depth of the material warrants collaboration and collegiality.  Additionally, the peer to peer model helps students access the sociocultural institutional knowledge that is not often shared (i.e. you just have to learn and experience for yourself, which almost models a sink or swim/meritocratic mindset).  This program reminds me very much of the POSSE scholars program.  A couple of questions:

    • what level of culturally responsive mentor training do you provide to your students and faculty?
    • do you utilize different model formats (dyads, triads, etc.)?
    • what level of internship support do you provide for students?
    • Do other departments have programs that are similar because cohort-type programs would be beneficial across disciplines?
     
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    Kelly Greene
  • Icon for: Ekundayo Shittu

    Ekundayo Shittu

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 10, 2022 | 10:03 a.m.

    Such an amazing program... we have no idea how massive demystifying early college experience is to these youths. This is an awesome program! I voted!! 

  • May 10, 2022 | 07:40 p.m.

    Could you share detail about what the youth actually do on a day to day basis while they are in the program? Agree with the importance of this work. A see from an earlier post that someone is asking about mentor preparation. We at American Museum of Natural History have also invested in mentor preparation and how can we support practices mentor engage in that combat historical inequities and access issues. I would hope to learn from this project and share what we do!

  • May 10, 2022 | 07:42 p.m.

    One other question - would instruments do you use to measure sense of belonging? We have just completed a survey completion exercise that includes that construct. We have not thought help-seeking behaviors. Super interesting. Please share.

  • Icon for: Benjamin Haywood

    Benjamin Haywood

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Director, Faculty Development Center
    May 11, 2022 | 02:52 p.m.

    Hi Preeti! With respect to program assessment, in addition to institutional-level analysis of academic performance, a survey questionnaire, focus-group, and written artifact data are collected at strategic points throughout the four-year program from Scholars and control groups. In particular, our survey includes:

    • A simple 1-item measure of STEM Professional Identity developed by McDonald et al. 2019 (see here);
    • The University Environment Scale (see here) - a 14-item self-report instrument measuring Scholars’ perceived warmth and support provided by the college environment, comfort level, belonging, and sense of feeling valued specifically among URM students on college campuses;
    • The Science Self-Efficacy Scale: Six rating items dealing with participant’s confidence in functioning as a scientist (Chemers et al., 2011Estrada et al., 2011);
    • The Science Identity Scale: Five rating items dealing with ways in which the participant thinks about himself or herself as a scientist (Chemers et al., 2011Estrada et al., 2011);
    • The Self-Stigma for Academic Help-Seeking Scale (see here and here), adapted from the Self-Stigma of Seeking Help (SSOSH) scale (see here and here), which assesses self-stigma for seeking psychological help; 
    • An 8-item measure of Flourishing focused on personal and vocational purpose and meaning (see here). 

    Our focus groups allow scholars to expand upon these items via more targeted questions, and the written artifacts we collect allow us to analyze for evidence of these elements as well.

  • Icon for: Cassy Pressimone Beckowski

    Cassy Pressimone Beckowski

    Graduate Student
    May 11, 2022 | 09:17 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing this great program! I appreciate the robust programming to support students in their transition to college as well as through their first years of college, and it is exciting to learn that so many of them have procured funded research experiences after their first year. In your note, I see that Pathways advising continues through the first two years of college; are there resources planned to support this program's students beyond their second year? Also, to echo a prior comment, I would love to know more about how you are measuring sense of belonging. I appreciate you sharing some preliminary outcomes, and I look forward to learning more as you continue to follow your first cohorts!

  • Icon for: Benjamin Haywood

    Benjamin Haywood

    Co-Presenter
    Associate Director, Faculty Development Center
    May 11, 2022 | 03:17 p.m.

    Hi Cassy. I'll let others respond to your first few questions, but with respect to assessment, I have posted some of the variables above we are considering. Although our low n makes it difficult to draw sweeping conclusions after the first year, our analysis of initial data suggests that:

    • Scholars more strongly identify as STEM professionals than control students, although not significantly so.
    • Scholars more strongly feel as if they belong in the science community than control students, at a significant level. Scholars tended to agree with these statements, while the control tended to be more neutral.
    • Significant differences were seen in four of the flourishing dimension statements with Scholar participants scoring higher than control counterparts in each. This involves: having a meaningful and purposeful life, making wise decisions, maintaining a healthy connection with family, and celebrating yourself while continuing to challenge yourself

    Based on the first round of focus groups:

    • There was an overall difference in the sense of belonging noted by Scholars (n=11) and control students (n=11) in their first semester. Scholars participants were uniformly positive when responding to this question, many emphatically so. On the other hand, some control members expressed a weak or nonexistent sense of belonging after the first semester. 
    • Scholars enthusiastically attributed part of their belonging to the STEM Scholars program, especially the bonding that occurred during the summer months (SAFE Passage). Many spoke of the significant role colleagues in the program play in their well-being and talked about how the program has helped them feel like they are wanted and desired as students – that they have something to contribute and be proud of.
    • Additionally, control students felt notably less comfortable seeking help from Professors and other support resources on campus after their first semester.
  • Icon for: John Kaup

    John Kaup

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Science Education
    May 17, 2022 | 10:45 a.m.

    Hi Cassy -

    Yes there is a continuation of Pathways into the third and fourth year but if shifts to an offering within individual departments.  Focused more on next steps, linking our students to professional in the field and helping them make those next decisions ( graduate, professional, workforce).

     

  • May 11, 2022 | 01:50 p.m.

    This is a cool project. The cohort model is also central to the Emerge project that I am working on; creating the peer-support network is probably the most substantive asset we give our participants, and I'll bet the same dynamic is at work at Furman. But what stood out the most to me is the potential durability and scalability of the project. If each cohort is comprised of students already committed to attending Furman, then presumably the benefits of cohort activities can be applied to a LOT of incoming students. Plus, I'll bet the programmatic costs of doing this are not astronomical, so hopefully this is something that will continue when the day comes that NSF funding is no longer available?

  • Icon for: Gregory Goins

    Gregory Goins

    Facilitator
    Professor and Chair
    May 12, 2022 | 09:53 a.m.

    This project and video were done very well. We all know that the transition from high school to college can be a rough one, so seeing the good this program is doing not only for STEM, but for students and building up a community is just wonderful to see. The goals and work you are doing that were presented in this video are great and I would love to see more in the future. 

  • Icon for: Kenne Dibner

    Kenne Dibner

    Facilitator
    Senior Program Officer
    May 12, 2022 | 02:02 p.m.

    Thanks so much for the presentation, and for including some of your early outcomes measures in your description. I just love to see examples of this work succeeding! Given the clear need for this kind of scaffolding for underrepresented student populations, from your perspective, what aspects of this program are most scalable, and what feels like it's really specific to Furman? Thanks for sharing!

  • Icon for: John Kaup

    John Kaup

    Lead Presenter
    Director of Science Education
    May 14, 2022 | 03:28 p.m.

    Thanks Daniel and Kenne for your comments and questions.  We do use the scholarships for recruiting so while some of the students are already committed there are many that are making the decision to come to Furman based on participation in this program as well as the scholarship support from the award.  The scholarship funding represents nearly 80% of the award so while that is critical to help these students not need to work during the academic year it also means most of the program (summer experience, enhanced advising and cohort based curricular offerings) are relatively inexpensive and could readily be scaled.  And while providing paid research experiences is somewhat costly these costs are provided through Furman and other extramural funding (not through the S-STEM award).  We just finished recruiting our second cohort of students and your questions/comments are helping us strategize for next steps and carrying forward these scalable program components are a key focus of our next steps.  

  • Icon for: Jayashree Balakrishna

    Jayashree Balakrishna

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2022 | 07:57 p.m.

    Love programs that make students feel connected to campus through a learning community. They make a huge difference in preventing isolation and in ensuring student success. We had a cohort of students in our grant taking part in academic projects outside the classroom and their visibility and connectedness helped other students connect to the campus. 

    Thanks for sharing. 

  • Small default profile

    Yiming

    Guest
    May 16, 2022 | 06:03 p.m.

    Thank you for this great video. I also believe that the "cohort" or "togetherness" is a key component that would ensure success.  We are also applying the same idea to advise students in our Information Technology program to take courses as cohorts, I hope that it will help.  Thank you again for sharing. 

  • Small default profile

    Yiming Ji

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2022 | 09:24 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your team experience, this is wonderful!  I also believe that "togetherness" could be a great idea to "glue" all team members.  We are also applying this idea for our students, and I hope that our students will also be successful.

  • Small default profile

    Yiming Ji

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2022 | 09:25 a.m.

    Thank you for sharing your team experience, this is wonderful!  I also believe that "togetherness" could be a great idea to "glue" all team members.  We are also applying this idea for our students, and I hope that our students will also be successful.

  • Icon for: Kelly Costner

    Kelly Costner

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 17, 2022 | 12:13 p.m.

    I'm impressed with all you're doing here to establish community among STEM students from the outset. Although we know that our WISE summer interns and Scholars form small groups (web-like rather than cohort) among themselves, we haven't been nearly as intentional at developing sense of belonging as you are doing through this project. Lots of great ideas--and so glad to see you say that they're budget-friendly in nature. Seems like some of it is a change of perspective and modification of ways that some faculty see/do their roles, so then it becomes a matter of having the right people on board and ensuring commitment to a common goal. Thank you for giving us that perspective!

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