The Texas State University - San Marcos, STEM Rising Stars program, will be a four-year comprehensive effort designed to support college students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to feel confident and motivated about their future careers, to be academically successful, and to graduate on time. The project will increase understanding of successful ways to support and encourage female, Hispanic, and African American undergraduate students in STEM fields of study. Increasing STEM participation and graduation numbers for minority and female students will have a major impact on the production of a diverse and well-trained group of STEM graduates in Texas and potentially, at other large institutions across the country. This project will provide a model for how to recruit and retain student interest and participation in STEM education and will provide research insight as to how STEM instruction can be improved to be more effective.

Specific project goals at Texas State University over the next four years will be to: 1) increase the overall second-year STEM undergraduate student retention rate by 12% over four years to achieve a target of 62.5% retention; 2) increase the retention rate of Hispanic and African American STEM majors by 15% to achieve a target of 53% retention; 3) increase the overall representation of Hispanic and African American students (combined) in STEM majors by 20% over four years to achieve a target of 36% representation; and 4) increase the number of female students completing undergraduate STEM degrees by 25% over four years to achieve a target of 20% completion. These goals are guided by theoretical bases such as Tinto's academic and social integration model and Astin's involvement model, Tierney's model of persistence which suggests that institutions need to provide their students the cultural capital necessary to succeed in an educational system where barriers to persistence and integration exist for minority students, and the use of active learning methods. This project also considers contextual micro-level data that some theorists believe will help change agents understand what works and under what circumstances. Some of the contextual factors considered include: faculty and peer relationships, family and community support, and academic sense of self. By establishing communities of learners at both the student and faculty levels, Texas State STEM Rising Stars aims to make a significant and sustainable impact on the overall STEM learning culture at Texas State University. The project evaluation will involve a mixed-methods approach for formative and summative assessment. The formative assessment component will assess student participants' learning by measuring changes in their pre and post assessments, course grades, and the degree to which students report a continuing interest in STEM fields of study. The summative evaluation will monitor progress toward achieving project objectives and activities. In addition, the project will be conducting a persistence analysis, tracking student persistence and attrition among project participants. Texas State STEM Rising Stars is committed to producing significant improvements and has the faculty, partnerships, and infrastructure needed to assure success.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
Talitha Washington
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Texas State University - San Marcos
San Marcos
United States
Zip Code