This project will provide 30 scholarships annually to financially needy, academically talented students through the Cyber Generation Tech Stars scholarship program. It will assist promising students who choose to major in one of the three related associate degree STEM programs within Florence-Darlington Technical College's division of Technical and General Education: Computer Technology/Network Systems Management, Industrial Technology, or Engineering Technology. Students will be expected to earn an Associate Degree and then to enter the workforce or transfer to continue their education at a baccalaureate degree-granting institution. The project builds upon work from a prior S-STEM grant, which established a comprehensive student support structure that has proven successful in increasing retention and success among underrepresented groups in STEM fields. Student support strategies include innovative loan-to-own technology support, social media and events that support cohesive cohorts, and mobile technology messages from the industry to advance students' knowledge and understanding of STEM careers and the modern workplace.
Results from the project could be informative for the larger academic community on student success and have a potentially transformative effect on the nation's open-door two-year technical and community colleges. Targeted outreach activities and role model Career Ambassadors will encourage females and minorities to consider careers in STEM disciplines. The SC ATE Center of Excellence, a NSF/ATE National Resource Center, will facilitate the dissemination of project results.