The Science and Mathematics Scholarship Program at Bethel College attracts academically qualified students to the study of Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics. The program provides scholarships, renewable for up to four years, to financially needy students with a focus on Hispanics and women. The S-STEM program is built upon a science and mathematics scholarship program that began in 2000, largely with seed money from Bethel alumni, involving College faculty and the Offices of Development and Financial Aid. Specific S-STEM program objectives are to:

(1) attract underrepresented students to STEM programs while increasing the number of STEM majors, (2) improve retention to graduation by developing awardees into a cohesive learning community, and (3) provide bridges to graduate programs and careers

To recruit students, Bethel STEM faculty and students, assisted by the Admissions Office, reach out to high school students through (a) a one-week Summer Science Institute, (b) an on-line Science Collaborataory, (c) Explore Science visiting days to expose prospective students, such as those in a nearby Upward Bound program, to research at Bethel, and (d) presentations in K-12 classrooms. To help smooth the transition to college, matriculating scholarship recipients take part in a day-long event during freshman orientation that enables the students to become familiar with science and mathematics faculty and their research while also piquing the students' interest in the research that is underway and in career opportunities in the STEM fields. The key strategy to retain students is their participation in a cohesive learning community that provides a focused, unified and integrative experience, emphasizing career and personal counseling, academic assistance, and peer-mentoring. Scholarship recipients are mentored by Bethel STEM faculty, including role models who come from the targeted demographic groups. Additionally, scholarship recipients actively contribute to an interdisciplinary STEM seminar that involves interactions with invited speakers, collaborative group research projects, and discussion of such topics as scientific ethics, "classic" papers, the nature and history of science, and the interplay between scientific discovery and societal development. Helping to provide the bridge to careers in the STEM fields are tours of industries and research laboratories, career panels, STEM-related on-campus employment, research experiences (both in Bethel laboratories and off-campus), and internships organized by Bethel STEM alumni.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Gul Kremer
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Bethel College
North Newton
United States
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