The Colleges Of the Fenway (COF) STEM Scholars program provides twenty incoming freshman who have committed to majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) with four-year scholarships. The program offers research and internship opportunities, career planning assistance, mentoring and peer support. Students conduct summer research or participate in internships at universities or companies in the area and meet regularly to share insights. Students qualifying for scholarships meet the following requirements: financial need, strong academic record, and a commitment to pursue a STEM major.
The COF STEM Scholars project addresses the following goals:
To increase the number of graduates from Boston area high schools matriculating to the COF and majoring and graduating in STEM areas.
To develop a support network for students with the goal of increasing their academic success and persistence.
To broaden the students' career goals; exposing them to nontraditional careers in STEM related fields, particularly those in demand in the local area.
To provide experiential learning opportunities through work with faculty on research projects and through co-ops and internships.
To create a model for leveraging the COF members' resources to work with this population of students that can be continued in future years.
The Colleges of the Fenway (COF), a non-profit collaboration of six small colleges in the Greater Boston area with a combined undergraduate population of nearly 12,000, have a longstanding commitment to working with and providing opportunities to the residents of greater Boston. This commitment comes in the form of scholarships to students, volunteer work in the schools and local community agencies and civic involvement strengthening the city as whole. Four of the six members of the COF participate in this program: Emmanuel College, Simmons College, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Wheelock College. The two that are not participating do not have majors that fit the S-STEM criteria. Each college brings unique strengths to this partnership, along with a proven track record of working together through the COF. This program focuses the shared commitment of the COF, which is to educate the students from the community in which the colleges reside on increasing the number of those students who pursue undergraduate education in the STEM disciplines.
The targeted student population, the students in the Greater Boston area, ranks 13th among the nation's school districts serving poor students, according to the US Census Bureau. In school year 2006-2007, 71% of Boston public school students qualified for the city's free or reduced price lunch program. Eighty-six percent of Boston Public School students are classified as Asian, Latino, African American, and Native American. Through the use of targeted high school recruitment efforts a more diverse population of students succeed in STEM majors and professions and these STEM graduates encourage others to do the same.