The goal of the Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics Scholarships (CMaPS) S-STEM scholarship program at Howard University is to increase student graduation rates while improving academic performance. The program is enhancing the academic environment for S-STEM scholars as they complete undergraduate degrees in Chemistry, Mathematics, or Physics. The project provides approximately 18 scholarships for first-year or second-year students. All of the first year S-STEM scholars and some of the second year students live in one of Howard's Living and Learning Communities, which has the theme of "Technology: Interdisciplinary Usage." The mission of the living-learning communities is to extend student learning opportunities outside of the classroom to heighten student intellectual and personal growth. These living environments foster faculty and resident interactions that build a strong sense of community for the students. In addition, a one credit hour course is being developed around this theme. All S-STEM scholars take this course, which is also available to other Howard students. S-STEM scholars also have the opportunity to take a summer research course.
The S-STEM program recruits scholars from underrepresented groups through high school admission counselors, fair visits, and outreach programs offered by the participating departments. S-STEM scholars are connected to the career/advising/mentoring services of the university and the support structures designed specifically forthem. The project builds strong ties between the S-STEM faculty and the scholars through the living and learning communities, a structured mentoring program, and the research opportunities. The success of the project will be evaluated based on a comparison study between a matched control cohort and the S-STEM scholars using surveys, focus groups and observational studies.