Montana Minds, a scholarship program of Montana Tech, is awarding renewable scholarships to 20 academically prepared but financially challenged students so that they will obtain degrees in the STEM degree disciplines of biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, or software engineering. Montana Tech, working with TRiO and GEAR UP staff, will target recruiting at 24 of Montana's impoverished high schools, including all 13 tribal high schools, and 7 tribal colleges.

Strategies being used to support scholarship recipients include: - enrolling Montana Minds' scholars in Learning Communities that will ensure that students take several classes together and interact academically and socially to develop as a cohesive self-sustaining group; - enrolling Montana Minds' scholars, during their first years on campus, in a College Success course designed to instill and sharpen the skills needed to succeed in college; - advising within a discipline by a single STEM faculty member who will mentor each student's progress and catalyze relationships with other STEM faculty; - assigning carefully selected upper division undergraduate mentor/tutors to assist the Montana Minds' scholars with their studies and help build community among these scholars; - assisting Montana Minds' scholars in pursuing faculty mentored undergraduate research. - visiting, during the Montana Minds' scholars freshman and sophomore years, national science and engineering laboratories to witness science and engineering done on a grand scale; - providing the financial support for each of the scholars to attend a national meeting during their junior year to broaden their acquaintance with the scope of their discipline; and - encouraging the Montana Minds' scholars to become involved with student clubs in their discipline.

Beyond these special features that enable the scholars' success, Montana Minds includes outreach activities to ensure broad impacts on a statewide level in both the secondary and post secondary educational systems. Ultimately, this program aims to improve opportunities for students, increase graduation rates, create a more student-focused culture at Montana Tech, and educate faculty on the challenges facing financially disadvantaged students.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
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Alexandra Medina-Borja
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Montana Technological University
United States
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