Through its S-STEM program focused on fostering student success in mathematics, computer science, and physics, the Evergreen State College is: (a) increasing enrollment, retention, and degree completion in STEM fields, (b) increasing the number of graduates who continue studies in STEM, (c) strengthening undergraduate opportunities for internships and employment in these fields, (d) integrating academic and student advising support, and (e) demonstrating models of collaboration between faculty and student support staff.
The S-STEM project awards twenty annual scholarships to financially needy undergraduates with academic promise. Thorough, flexible recruitment and selection plans ensure broad participation from underrepresented groups (low-income, first generation, minorities, women, persons with disabilities) within the scholarship recipient cohorts. In particular, targeted faculty-to-faculty recruitment at specific community colleges and high schools with high numbers of underrepresented students is part of a strategy to attract more of these students to Evergreen's programs.
Based on retention research indicating that a sense of belonging and attachment to a college is critical for student success and persistence, the S-STEM project has a central retention strategy of establishing a learning community for scholarship recipients. Activities of the learning community include a 3-day pre-fall institute; biweekly seminars during the academic year; study groups; shared identity through enrollment in interdisciplinary mathematics, computer science, and physics programs; strong faculty, staff and peer support; and social opportunities. Presentations on STEM careers, research and industrial applications as well as partnerships with industry are additional strategies to place students in graduate schools and industry, furthering Evergreen's response to Washington State's call for more bachelor's degree holders in technology and science