This project supports the recruitment and retention of women transferring from two-year colleges (TYC) into STEM majors at a top-tier women's liberal arts college, with scholarships replacing loans up to $8,800/year for each of the remaining two and a half years. The scholarship program nurtures these students by providing a structured intervention that (a) builds the scholars into a cohort, (b) draws them into the intellectual life of the college with intensive advising and a customized course taught by STEM faculty, and (c) leads them into the STEM community through career advising and structured guidance on securing internships and graduate school opportunities. The program is investigating those factors that influence recruitment and success of TYC college students in STEM disciplines at such a selective institution.
One of the project's broader impacts is to directly increase involvement of women (many first-generation or underrepresented students) in scientific research training. It is utilizing its ability to disseminate best practices for TYC STEM transfers among partner colleges in the local Five College consortium, statewide through the MA Board of Higher Education, and nationally through articles and conference presentations. Given the dearth of TYC transfer students attending selective institutions, this project is serving to increase participation and strengthen infrastructures for such partnerships across the nation.