This NSF Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program award to Siena Heights University will support the success of high-achieving, low-income STEM students with demonstrated financial need. Over the five years of the award, the Siena Heights: Applying Psychological Constructs and Student Supports to Improve the Education of Students in STEM (SHAPE STEM) project will fund 80 annual scholarships to 20 students who are pursuing bachelor's degrees in biology, chemistry, or environmental science. The program aims to prepare these graduates for entry into the workforce in southeastern Michigan or further STEM education. In addition, the program focuses on education that prepares students to tackle environmental challenges related to sustainable food production, clean water, soil chemistry, air quality, chemical recycling, and biodiversity.
This project will enroll 20 scholars, with goals of retaining 90% of the scholars until their sophomore year, graduating 100% of the scholars who are retained, and placing 90% of the scholars in STEM-related careers or graduate school. SHAPE STEM will provide students with motivational supports based on the Unified Learning Model (ULM), which includes data-informed goal setting, extensive faculty mentoring, participation in a living and learning community, and research and internship opportunities within professions related to the environmental challenges faced by southeastern Michigan. SHAPE STEM plans to do the following: (1) recruit low-income high school students from relevant career technical education programs; (2) provide scholarship support to address financial need; (3) develop a living-learning community; (4) develop group research projects; (5) create a SHAPE STEM seminar to build academic and professional skill development; (6) provide students with psychological supports to foster social belonging, values affirmation, growing intelligence, and (7) support students via faculty mentoring. SHAPE STEM has the potential to generate evidence that can be used to improve motivation and learning in other Siena Heights University students. This support structure could also be adapted and used by other higher educational institutions nationally.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.