The goal of the NSF STEP Program is to increase the number of STEM students who successfully complete a degree at SUNY Oswego. Nationally, fewer than half of students who enroll as STEM majors as incoming freshman will graduate with a STEM degree. The STEP Program has developed a five component plan to increase the number of STEM graduates, by focusing on retention and providing support especially during the critical freshman and sophomore years. The five components include Math and Chemistry Bridge Camp, peer mentoring, math in context problems, enhanced tutoring services, and early summer research opportunities. If you would like to know more about this oppurtunity and programs, please contact Dr. Fehmi Damkaci (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Karen Valentino (email@example.com).
Math and Chemistry Bridge Camp
The summer Math and Chemistry Bridge Camp is available to incoming STEM freshmen to help them transition from high school-level to college-level chemistry and math courses with the additional benefit of providing students with a preview of college life. Participants review background material for important topics in math and chemistry in a relaxed but rigorous manner. Data from previous camps indicates that students who take part in bridge camps do significantly better during their first two years than their peers who did not take part in the bridge camp.
Peer Mentoring Program
Chemistry and physics lab classes have upperclassmen serving as peer mentors who can assist new students as they adjust to the challenges of college as a STEM major. The mentor helps the lab instructors with students, but also discusses topics of interest to STEM majors. Peer mentors meet weekly with professors and lab instructors to prepare for the upcoming lab and discuss the week's STEM-related topic such as research and internship opportunities, graduate studies, and STEM careers.
Math in Context Program
Many students struggle with applying math to real-world, scientific problems. In an effort to connect math with material learned in science classes, math problems are integrated into physics and chemistry lab assignments. Lab instructors work through example math in context problems during labs, and students work on additional problems on their own allowing them to improve their math application skills.
Enhanced tutoring services
The Office of Learning Services provides a number of academic support services including tutoring in many STEM classes through their Mathematics and Natural Sciences Center. Tutoring is provided to all Oswego students free of charge. Enhanced tutoring services provide walk-in tutoring on weeknights and Sundays, tutors embedded in the classes, and increased mentoring of student tutors. All students are encouraged to take advantage of tutoring services whether the purpose is to pass a difficult class or to continue to perform at a high level.
Summer research funding for freshman and sophomore
Students in STEM disciplines have the possibility of engaging in early summer research opportunities. Funds are specifically designated to support STEM student researchers that have recently completed their freshman or sophomore year of college. Research provides students with the chance to apply the information they have learned in classes and enhances their ability to think critically. Students who participate in summer research opportunities are not only more likely to graduate with a STEM degree, but are also more likely to pursue a graduate degree.