The college, a minority-serving institution with 5300 students (91% African-American and 5% Hispanic), is creating a Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Mathematics Scholarship (CEMS) program to serve 28 to 30 students per year.
Intellectual Merit: The project combines financial support with a strategic plan based on current research related to the retention of minority students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas. The scholarships are being augmented by support services including orientation sessions for entering freshman and transfer students, enhanced faculty-student interaction through career development and research-oriented workshops, monthly symposium with representatives from industry and national research laboratories, midterm grade reporting for early intervention, peer-tutoring workshops in gateway courses and major courses, and student field trips to research centers, national laboratories and research centers. These activities are intended to support the retention of students through their BS degrees as well as provide opportunities for potential career paths or graduate studies post-graduation. The scholars have opportunities to participate in summer research programs at NASA centers or with university partners. The rationale for the scholarship program is based on the natural clustering among Computer Science, Environmental Science and Math students as they take common science and math core required courses.
Broader Impact: The project is increasing the number of the minority and female students obtaining BS degrees in STEM areas of national need and contributing to a diverse workforce. It also contributes to the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees in Computer Science, Environmental Science and Mathematics.