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CSMP Scholarship Program of Central Connecticut: Central Connecticut State University

Stan Kurkovsky

[email protected]

With funding from the National Science Foundation's Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program, the CSMP Scholarship Program of Central Connecticut will provide support to low-income students with demonstrated financial need and academic promise. This support will help students succeed in selected STEM disciplines at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Manchester Community College (MCC), and Tunxis Community College (TCC). The project is funding 88 scholarships over five years for students pursuing bachelor's degrees in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Physics (CSMP). This scholarship program supports students planning to continue their studies in a graduate program as well as to those planning to enter the workforce upon earning an undergraduate degree. This project implements co-curricular activities proven to improve student persistence and will study the effects on student success of these activities and other factors. The scholarship program will complement and enhance the newly created Transfer Articulation Program (TAP), enabling seamless transfer of students with two-year degrees from community colleges to four-year institutions in the state of Connecticut. The scholarship program will target prospective students recruited through public schools, two-year colleges, and community organizations, as well as promising students already enrolled in CSMP and related programs at CCSU. Faculty serving as mentors will proactively provide interventions for students who experience academic or social/emotional difficulties while in the program. This program builds upon the success of the previous two NSF S-STEM awards that established a well-functioning student support infrastructure and faculty and staff who have experience with these types of interventions. The current program structure incorporates and builds on lessons learned from the prior work. This project will support the study, implementation, and evaluation of co-curricular activities leading to improved academic success of low-income academically talented students.<br/><br/>This S-STEM Track 3 project seeks to improve educational opportunities for financially needy academically talented students and help them succeed in many STEM academic areas. CCSU, MCC, and TCC serve an ethnically-diverse population within the greater Hartford area of Connecticut. A student cohort will create a supportive environment for scholars, supporting their academic success, retention, and timely graduation. The importance of the project stems from the membership of CCSU, MCC and TCC in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU) system, which makes the project potentially scalable to the other CCSU institutions across the state. The strategies used by the scholarship program focus on peer and faculty involvement, academic integration and development, goal commitment, social integration, academic performance, and institutional commitment. Students will benefit from previous interdisciplinary curricular enhancements supported by previous NSF funding. In addition, students will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing research projects with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research which has shown correlation with retention.

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