This project will strengthen the scientific workforce by increasing the number of well-prepared graduates in STEM disciplines. It will attract promising students to STEM disciplines through an early research experience, retain PRISM scholars through mentoring and advising, and incorporate them into the scientific community at large. The intellectual content of this project is substantial. Lasting partnerships between faculty in Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics and Physics will be developed as a result of this project. For five summers scholars will be recruited for a research experience, which will be followed by an extensive mentoring and advising process for the duration of their undergraduate careers. The summer research component will engage PRISM scholars in a three-week residential early research experience. Each partner discipline will offer a project designed by experienced faculty mentors to introduce scholars to the excitement of scientific discovery and the centrality of mathematics in applied fields. Participants will actively engage in research, developing effective teamwork and communication skills while being inspired to persevere in the pursuit of a scientific career. The residential aspect of the program, together with social activities, will develop the kind of peer-support group that is critical to continued success. Academic year research will be supported by the program, taking advantage of scholars' new-found enthusiasm for the sciences. Every effort will be made to not just retain scholars, but to have them succeed. Following the initial research component, PRISM scholars will undergo rigorous advising and mentoring. Scholars will meet quarterly with advisors to discuss course selection, current coursework, and academic/career opportunities. As a result of this program's partnerships with several existing programs, PRISM scholars will participate in five Career Education Workshops, a Science Networking and Recruiting Forum, workshops on research and graduate school opportunities, and GRE preparation courses. These mentoring and advising activities will ensure greater retention of PRISM scholars, and increased incorporation into the scientific community. Curricular changes include developing a non-calculus introductory course in mathematics, as well as a minor in Applied Mathematics. The curricular changes, mentoring activities, interdisciplinary partnerships and student research experiences combine to create a vibrant intellectual atmosphere that will effectively prepare PRISM scholars for scientific careers.
This program will significantly enhance the development of a scientific workforce, and have a lasting impact on the scientific community at large. Committed to the principle of diversity, this program aggressively recruits from the diverse student population at CSUSB, a Hispanic-Serving and Minority Institution. PRISM scholars will positively influence area high schools and STEM disciplines at CSUSB through presentations and leadership roles on campus, as well as the broader scientific community through presentations, subsequent research, internships, and ultimately career choices. Hence this program will expose a large population of those underrepresented in the sciences to the excitement of scientific endeavor, and will significantly enhance human resource development by producing well-trained and better-prepared young scientists. PRISM scholars will also continue to contribute to the scientific community for years to come. By graduation, they will already be active community members through conference participation, being leaders in their local communities, and producing research that furthers knowledge in Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Math, and/or Physics. As PRISM scholars mature in their chosen careers this influence will only continue to grow, indicating that the potential impact of this program on the sciences is truly significant. Further, the program has an aggressive plan for broad dissemination in order to enhance scientific understanding. Avenues for dissemination include the program's website, support to present at conferences, publication when appropriate, as well as sharing best practices, developed lab/course materials, and educational advances. The activities and research resulting from this program, then, will well serve the broader framework of the scientific community at large.