Authors: Sadegh Davari, Sharon Perkins-Hall, Krishani, Jim Meeks, Nathanial Wiggins, Norm Liebling
Abstract: The Bridges to STEM Careers (BSC) project is funded by the STEP program of US National Science Foundation. The project is a collaborative effort between a University and three campuses of a community college system located in Houston, Texas. The main goals of the project are to increase attainment of associate and baccalaureate degrees, as well as to facilitate and increase transfer of students across the institutions. The project focuses on increasing student engagement and persistence through the development of face-to-face and technology-enhanced learning networks, both within and across campuses. Supporting initiatives include summer bridge programs, peer mentoring and tutoring sessions, a cyber center, Tech Fridays, an annual programming challenge with participation and sponsorship from local industry, and modest financial aid. The intellectual merit of the project lies in the strong partnership between the baccalaureate and associate institutions, well-designed and coherent project elements built on literature-based best practices and successful pilot studies, clear implementation strategies, well-planned evaluation, and extensive involvement of local industries. We have been focusing on the following Fields: Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Computer Information Systems, Information Technology, and Mathematics. In this paper we will provide an overview of the main project elements, hands-on student activities, and the lessons learned.
Keywords: STEM education, peer-mentoring, hands-on