The Connecting Community College Transfers for STEM Success (C3) project of the West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) provides twenty-two scholarships per year to community college transfer students who major in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The goal of C3 is to increase the quantity, quality, and diversity of students completing degrees in all STEM fields by providing academic, social, and financial support. Community college transfer students majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Environmental Science, Plant and Soil Science, Animal Science, Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, and Computer Science receive C3 scholarship support.
Objectives and related tasks of C3 are to:
1. Retain community college STEM students by recruiting them to transfer to WTAMU after completing their associate's degrees.
Task 1.1: Provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships to STEM community college transfer students.
Task 1.2: Travel to regional community colleges to recruit STEM transfer students through advertisement of C3 and other opportunities at WTAMU including NSF-funded STEP and REU projects.
2. Increase the academic achievement of STEM community college transfers.
Task 2.1: Enroll C3 scholars in appropriate STEM courses to integrate them into STEM cohorts of previous community college transfers and native WTAMU STEM students.
Task 2.2: Offer a STEM transfer orientation course designed to alleviate "transfer shock."
Task 2.3: Integrate C3 scholars into established student communities through participation in research, internships and career awareness opportunities provided by student professional organizations such as American Association of Mechanical Engineers, Society of Women Engineers, Mathematics Honorary Society, Wildlife Biology Club, Biology Honorary Society, and Association of Computing Machinery.
Task 2.4: Build quality faculty-student relationships through STEM faculty community college recruiting visits, faculty advising and mentoring, undergraduate research opportunities, and campus professional organizations.
C3 partners with six regional community colleges, four of which have student populations that are over 25% Hispanic and over 50% female. The diversity resident in the PI/Co-PI C3 leadership team provides role models for all students, including women and minorities, in all STEM disciplines. This group leads the C3 research efforts targeting community college transfer student retention and graduation in a rural, low-income, first-generation population and develops a model for increasing participation of women and minorities in all STEM fields.
C3 increases the quantity, quality, and diversity of graduates in all STEM fields by providing financial and academic support to STEM community college transfer students facing financial, social, and academic barriers. C3 assists a population of largely first-generation, low-income students in a region with a rapidly growing Hispanic population. The majority of WTAMU graduates decide to stay in the region, so increasing the diversity of STEM graduates also increases the diversity of the region's workforce.